Having taught in Milwaukee Public Schools for five years, I get to see great teachers educate young minds every day. Ordinary days are filled with extraordinary moments in classrooms across the district. We usually don't hear much about these daily acts of dedication and compassion. As do most things in life, they go unnoticed, except perhaps by the students whose lives they touch.
But at Ronald Reagan IB High School, where I teach Spanish, Wednesday was a different kind of day for one teacher who stood out among educators across the nation.
Anticipation was building as every student at the school filed into the auditorium this morning for a surprise assembly. The jazz band played its upbeat tunes and television cameras surrounded the area. Dignitaries from around the city of Milwaukee sat on the stage happily chatting among themselves.
State superintendent Tony Evers was there. Our district superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton sat next to him. Mayor Tom Barrett joined them along with School Board Director Meagan Holman. School principal Mike Roemer was there, too, of course. We knew something was happening, but we didn’t know exactly what. Perhaps a visit from the Governor? Michelle Obama?
After some enthusiastic words from Dr. Thornton, a representative from the Milken Family Foundation in California announced that one teacher from our school had been selected for their prestigious national educator award.
The winner of one of the 2013 Milken Educator Awards, or the "Oscar" of the education world, would also win $25,000 that they could spend as they wish.
The honor ultimately went to my colleague Sarah Berndt, a Spanish teacher, technology teacher and school newspaper advisor at Reagan IB.
Berndt accepted the award to a standing ovation. She was composed enough to say a few words of gratitude to her students and comment on how she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Those who work with Sarah witness her dedication to excellence every day, through her positive enthusiasm and differentiation of learning for students of all abilities. Her classroom bursts with color and creative energy, welcoming us all. But to see her recognized publicly and with a financial reward attached to it was truly an exciting moment for the entire school.
Congratulations, Sarah! And congratulations to Ronald Reagan IB High School and Milwaukee Public Schools!
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Calie Joy Herbst
Published Nov. 25, 2013
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many of us are counting our blessings and pausing to appreciate what's really important in life. But are we raising our kids to be thankful, as well?
Published Nov. 1, 2013
For all of the good things technology brings our kids, we fear the dangers, too.
Published Oct. 20, 2013
When I brought my family to JB's on 41 on a recent Saturday evening, and was greeted by their retro, funky sign out front, I expected to leave wanting to immediately wash all of our clothes. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a bright, modern facility complete with leather seats and contemporary decor.
Published Oct. 5, 2013
Peck and Bushel Fruit Company in Colgate doesn't just offer an organic alternative to your favorite apple varieties. Wisconsin's only organic apple orchard also offers a return to the old-fashioned fruit-picking experience.
Published Sept. 28, 2013
Calie Joy Herbst recently celebrated a friend's 30th birthday at Wauwatosa's trendy new spot, Arté Wine & Paint on Underwood Avenue, and got to experience this artsy craze for herself.
Published Sept. 27, 2013
Autumn glory is upon us, and it's time for the most family-friendly outing of them all - apple picking! Our area offers no shortage of apple orchards to enjoy, and they each offer something a little different.
Published Sept. 4, 2013
It's back to school time for Milwaukee schools, and that can mean excitement and new beginnings. It can also mean chaos and stress for many families. Luckily, there's no problem a good app can't solve.
Published July 22, 2013
Who knew? Havenwoods State Forest is Wisconsin's only urban state forest, and offers over 200 acres of natural wildlife and woodlands. The Nature Center is buzzing with live reptiles, a "Books in Your Backyard" nature library, and free events for kids and families all year round.
Published June 22, 2013
With all that Lake Geneva offers less than an hour away from the city, maybe it's time for Milwaukeeans to look south for their "up north" vacation.
Published June 12, 2013
This family's guide to Milwaukee's festivals will tell you what each festival in June and July offers to children and families, and when you can get in cheapest.