Tami Lunsford is the first Milken Educator Award winner from the state of Delaware. The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of Teaching,” comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. The education initiative not only aims to reward great teachers, but to celebrate, elevate and activate those innovators in the classroom who are guiding America’s next generation of leaders. Milken Educators believe, “The future belongs to the educated.” Research shows teacher quality is the driving in-school factor behind student growth and achievement.

Mike Milken, co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, surprised Lunsford with the Award and cash prize in front of a gathered student body who went wild for this popular teacher. Milken cited the consistent success of her students and her contributions to establishing Newark Charter High School. Angeline Rivello, Delaware’s Associate Secretary of Education joined the celebration to praise this educator and school.

Lunsford is among up to 45 honorees who will receive this national recognition for the 2017-18 Milken Educator Awards season.

Inquiry-based investigations, project-based learning and science competitions are key instructional practices Lunsford employs to engage her students as an Advanced Placement (AP) Biology and marine science teacher. She also builds skills through the curriculum to help students become proficient in collaboration, problem solving, and social responsibility – talents immeasurably important for college and career. Teaching is a calling for Lunsford who started at the university level, and quickly became a leader at Newark Charter, helping to expand the institution from a middle school to a National Blue Ribbon high school.

“Tami Lunsford’s passion and energy in teaching inspires a love of learning – her students are immersed into a world that not only understands the science but embraces its awesome power and future applications,” said Milken. “We know that science is the engine of prosperity so Tami’s influence will be felt far beyond the classroom. We’re confident the future discoveries of the students she inspires will change the world.

About Milken Educator Tami Lunsford

Tami Lunsford is nurturing the next generation of scientists at Delaware’s Newark Charter High School (NCHS). During one project, more than 50 students in her Marine Science classes learned about sustainability and marine pollution as they transformed plastic bags into more than 5,000 sleeping mats, which they donated to local homeless shelters. Lunsford takes every opportunity to ensure that learning is an adventure: Her students travel annually to Cape Henlopen for horseshoe crab mating season and to the Marine Science Institute in Bermuda every other year. They earn among the highest AP Biology scores in the state, with a 92% pass rate last year. But more importantly, Lunsford’s students leave her classes with increased confidence and a true love of science. Many who started with her as freshmen have headed to college as science majors, including one student who took every class Lunsford teaches and earned a full college scholarship to study marine science.

Lunsford is committed to extending her students’ science education beyond the walls of her classroom. She helped the student-led Marine Science, Environmental and Feminist Clubs organize a visit from U.S. Senator Tom Carper to voice their concerns about national environmental policy; the students were then invited to Washington, D.C., to sit in on a legislative hearing focused on protecting the oceans. Lunsford coached the Marine Science Club to an eighth-place finish in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl and helped students organize a local Science March on Earth Day, an effort that landed students an interview on National Public Radio.

Lunsford holds a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Delaware and a master’s in marine science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at the College of William and Mary.

More information about Lunsford, plus links to photos and a video from the October 23, 2017 assembly can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/Tami-Lunsford.