Springfield, Ohio - Tiffany Tynes Curry, Wittenberg class of 2001, recently received the prestigious Milken Educator Award for her contributions to the personal development of students and teachers alike as a third grade teacher at Columbus City Schools' Weinland Park Elementary in Columbus, Ohio.
Tynes Curry, who earned a B.A. in elementary education from Wittenberg, is the only Milken Educator Award recipient in Ohio this year and the first from her school district since 2002. She received the award during a surprise assembly in front of hundreds of elementary students after being selected from a host of candidates given to the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) by the Ohio Department of Education.
"What an honor it is to receive such a prestigious educational award," said Tynes Curry, who started her teaching career in August 2001 after graduating from Wittenberg in May. She spent the first 10 years of her teaching career at East Columbus Elementary as math and science teacher.
"I am humbled and thrilled at the same time that God saw it fit for me to receive this award; especially when the work of teachers goes unnoticed. What an amazing way to discover that people are watching a value to the work that is being done to positively make a difference. Teaching in an urban school district for my entire career has been both challenging and rewarding. However, I had some amazing teachers who planted the seeds in me and because of them, I want to plant seeds in my students. I love Wittenberg's motto: Having light we pass it on to others! This is exactly what I am doing."
The Milken Educator Award was conceived by the MFF to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent in the teaching profession and is hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher magazine. More than 2,700 early or mid-career teachers, principals and specialists have received the award since 1987.
Jane Foley, senior vice president with the foundation, Paolo A. DeMaria, Ohio superintendent of public instruction, and Dan Good, Columbus City Schools' superintendent, presented the award to a shocked Tynes Curry. Her event was part of the foundation's national tour surprising outstanding educators. The foundation only honored up to 35 recipients this year in this the 30th anniversary season of the award. The award also came with a cash prize.
"As a teacher and school improvement specialist, Tiffany Tynes Curry bridges the gap between student learning and teacher professional growth," Foley said. "Tiffany understands that refining adult practices directly benefits student progress, and strategically develops instruction to meet the needs of each student. Forethought and self-reflection empower children to take ownership of their learning, which in turn, strengthens their self-confidence in and out of the classroom."
Tynes Curry creates a culture of successful learning in her classroom where children believe in their abilities to think, consult and resolve their coursework with skills they can build upon. She prepares them with the "what" and "why" so students can evaluate "how" their next steps create solutions. She relies heavily on data to understand exactly where each student sits on the learning continuum.
"I had no clue that I had been nominated for this award," Tynes Curry added. "We were informed that the meeting was a third-grade reading kickoff and that the superintendent and state superintendent would be in attendance to recognize our school for making continued academic growth. We assumed that the media and news reporters were present due to the superintendents."
Prior to Weinland Park, Tynes Curry was a full-time teacher-coach as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Columbus City Schools, developing teachers in math and focusing on school improvement. She coordinated "Intervention Fridays," an opportunity for students to have conversations with faculty about academic struggles, including understanding the materials and goals of a given lesson. She also developed after-school workshops about the Ohio Improvement Process, in which teachers learned how to use data to inform their instructional practices.
Full Biography with Event Photos and Videos: http://www.milkeneducatorawards.org/educators/view/tiffany-tynes-curry