SPIRIT LAKE, Idaho – A high school teacher in Spirit Lake was awarded the 2013 Milken Educator Award for Idaho in a surprise assembly Friday morning.
Katie Graupman, an English teacher at Timberlake High School, showed up at work Friday just like any other day. At 9 a.m., she went to the gym with her students to participate in a school wide assembly to celebrate her school’s excellent academic track record.
Or so she thought.
During the assembly, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Dr. Jane Foley of the Milken Family Foundation unexpectedly announced that Graupman had been named Idaho’s 2013 Milken Educator – and was being awarded $25,000 as part of the prestigious award.
Students gave Graupman a standing ovation as she worked her way to the podium to accept the award Friday morning.
“Thank you for the job I get to do every day,” she told her students. “Thank you for being the reason I get up and come to work every day.”
Graupman has taught at Timberlake High for 10 years. She was awarded by the Milken Family Foundation in part for her efforts in increasing her students’ scores on the ISAT and writing assessments each year.
“If something is good for kids, she is unafraid to change the system, even if the change affects her,” said Dr. Mary Ann Ranells, Lakeland School District Superintendent.
“I am proud that Katie Graupman will recognize Idaho as our 2013 Milken Educator,” Luna remarked. “She is praised by her colleagues as an outstanding educator with a strong work ethic who sets high standards to make sure every student masters the knowledge they need before graduating from high school.”
Known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” The Milken Educator Award was conceived by Lowell Milken to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession. Since 1987, the Milken Family Foundation has devoted more than $136 million in funding to the Milken Educator Awards, including over $64 million in individual Awards to nearly 2,600 recipients plus powerful professional development opportunities and networking with leading education stakeholders.
Graupman is now one of 15 educators in Idaho who have received the prestigious Milken Educator Award since Idaho joined the Milken program in 2003.