November 2013



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Pierre teacher receives $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Shana Davis, an English teacher at Riggs Academy, an alternative-education site at T.F. Riggs High School, received a $25,000 surprise recently. Gov. Dennis Daugaard, State Education Secretary Melody Schopp and Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, presented Davis with a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award during a school assembly Monday, Nov. 18.

“Shana Davis has taken a strong leadership role with Riggs Academy. She is constantly innovating to help her students succeed,” said Schopp. “It is so exciting to see her dedication acknowledged with this tremendous honor.”

Davis is a former Army reservist and Iraq War veteran who has taught for 12 years. Five years ago, she helped create Riggs Academy for at-risk students. Principal Kevin Mutchelknaus praises Davis’ skill in empowering students and getting them on track to graduate. She is a member of the Community/Law Enforcement/School Team investigating alternatives to detention, and leads the Riggs Student/Teacher Assistance Team.

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. 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

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