The Milken Family Foundation awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award to an educator from Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Bentonville on Wednesday (April 27).
Kamisha Burlingame, a fourth-grade teacher, was surprised with the award at an all-school assembly that included local and state education officials. The recognition includes a $25,000 cash prize that Burlingame can use however she chooses.
Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Deputy Commissioner Stacy Smith joined Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher to present Burlingame with the recognition Wednesday. Burlingame is among more than 60 educators across the country who will receive the award during the 2021-22 school year.
According to a news release, she is the first Milken recipient from Bentonville Schools.
“Every day, Kamisha Burlingame sparks joy and wonder in her students with lessons that capture their imagination and transform the classroom into full, interactive environments,” Gallagher said in a statement. “She understands that reaching students’ hearts and minds go hand in hand. Kamisha proactively connects with students and their families to support their well-rounded development. For these reasons and more, I am proud to welcome Kamisha into the Milken Educator Network.”
Burlingame earned a bachelor’s in early childhood education from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith in 2014 and a master’s in advanced teaching and learning from Harding University in 2018. She holds National Board Certification in K-6 literacy.
The Milken Educator Award was founded in 1982 by Lowel Milken, an international property developer regarded as one of America’s most generous philanthropists. He established the award, called the “Oscars of teaching” by Teacher Magazine, to recognize exceptional teachers, and the first award was presented in 1987 to provide public recognition and individual financial awards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education.
Recipients are recognized in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.