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Pocatello teacher surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Awards

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) — In a surprise assembly Friday, Dane Beorchia, a career and technical education teacher (CTE) at Highland High School, received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for his excellence and innovation in education.

Beorchia built a health career and technical program from the ground up and led the effort for his students to become certified for dual enrollment with local universities and technical schools, while making the most difficult content available to every student, entry-level and advanced.

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley and Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra surprised Beorchia with the honor before cheering students, colleagues, state and local officials, and the media. Beorchia joins another Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 recipient, Tiffany Lemos, who was surprised earlier today in Chubbuck. Both are among more than 60 educators to receive the recognition during the 2021-22 school year, and the only two from Idaho. They mark the first two Milken Awards recipients in the district.

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Awards celebrate, elevate and activate the American teaching profession and inspire young, capable people to join it.

“The pandemic shifted the way we approach and think about education, and Dane Beorchia pivoted with innovative teaching methods that provided exceptional learning experiences for students,” said Dr. Foley, who herself is a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana. “His ability to create a career and technical curriculum, double its size and maintain its success all during a time of uncertainty, demonstrates his flexibility, innovation and mastery of his profession.”

The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients are heralded while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities inherent in the Award.

“Dane Beorchia exemplifies a great teacher’s ability to not only convey difficult, important information but to help students envision and create their futures,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said. “The Health Professions Pathway he built at Highland High has more than doubled in size, and an amazing 100 percent of his students pass the Workplace Readiness and Medical Terminology Dual Credit exams. He is a fantastic choice for the prestigious Milken Educator Award, and I am so proud that our state has two Milken winners this year – two of only 60 honored throughout the nation,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “Even more remarkably, both of Idaho’s winners teach in the same school district. Congratulations to Pocatello/Chubbuck Superintendent Douglas Howell and his team.”

“Today is a remarkable day for the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 and I would like to commend Tiffany Lemos and Dane Beorchia for this recognition,” Superintendent Dr. Douglas Howell said. “Walking into Tiffany’s classroom for the first time, I immediately noticed how welcoming of an environment she was able to create for her learners. Dane has an innate ability to make immediate connections and engage in a meaningful way with his learners. Both of these outstanding educators set the stage for a true learning experience every day. To have two of our outstanding educators recognized for this prestigious award right here in Southeastern Idaho is a testament to the power of our district’s focus on Visible Learning, where learners take an active role in their own learning every day,” he said. 

Article Topic Follows: Pocatello

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Cole Sams

Cole is a reporter for Local News 8.

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