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For Immediate Release: October 7, 2010
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Sioux Falls teacher receives prestigious Milken award







Wade Helleson*, a K-5 instructional coach based at Lowell Elementary School in Sioux Falls, received the surprise of a lifetime today when he was presented with a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

Gov. Mike Rounds, State Education Secretary Tom Oster and Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, presented Helleson with a $25,000 cash award during a school assembly this morning.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this celebration,” Oster said. “Wade Helleson is passionate about student learning and highly respected by his colleagues. He has been a mentor and coach to many, and his impact on students will be felt for years to come.”

Helleson has been with the Sioux Falls School District for 12 years. He spent many of those years teaching third grade, but in recent years, has been on special assignment to assist with curriculum integration, community-based learning opportunities and teacher mentoring. He was instrumental in the development of the science, math and technology school at Lowell Elementary. He has been described by one colleague as a “beacon of light for staff and students.”

The Milken Educator Awards were conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession. In addition to the cash prize, Helleson will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the Milken Educator Forum, a national gathering of award-winning educators who will address strategies for advancing teacher effectiveness.

Candidates for the Milken Educator Awards are selected on the following criteria:

· Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school

· Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession

· Individuals whose education contributions are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight

· Early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership

· Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community

To learn more about the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, visit www.mff.org.

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*Helleson (Hel'-uh-suhn)