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“I am a Milken educator!” Compass Academy Vice Principal receives $25,000 check and national recognition

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) — Students at Compass Academy gathered for an assembly Wednesday thinking they'd hear from Superintendent Debbie Critchfield about outstanding school performance. But, the gathering was orchestrated by school leadership to honor Vice Principal Kelly Sheridan. She is the newest recipient of the 2023-2024 Milken Educator Award.

"The moment I heard my name, I think my mouth dropped open in awe, and it's just kind of a blur. I felt a lot of feelings like shock and joy." 

Kelly Sheridan, Compass Academy Vice Principal

These awards have been described as the "Oscars of teaching.” Milken Educator Award recipients receive an unrestricted check for $25,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to an educators' conference in California.

"Actors have Oscars, musicians have Grammys, athletes have gold medals and most valuable player awards, and scientists have Nobel Prizes," the Milken Family Foundation said. "Yet exemplary educators — who prepare every profession often go unrecognized. Over three decades ago, philanthropist and education visionary Lowell Milken set out to change that by creating the Milken Educator Awards."

Educators cannot be nominated but are handpicked by scouts to become a part of the Milken Educator Network. Sheridan has worked as an educator for nine years.

"This is my eighth year at Compass Academy," Sheridan said. "I started as an art teacher, then became dean of students and then became assistant principal. I love it here. This is my favorite place to be, and I feel like I'm just lucky to spend my time here every day with all of you."

Sheridan plans to use a portion of the cash prize towards her upcoming wedding and honeymoon. Twenty Idahoans have been awarded this honor since the program began. Sheridan is the first-ever recipient in the Idaho Falls School District. A second Idaho educator will receive the award for the 2023-2024 school year, with a total of 75 recipients across the nation.

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Ashley Chilcutt

Ashley is a reporter and producer for Local News 8.


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