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McKinley Tech Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Award

Shevry Lassiter | , WI Staff Writer | 10/14/2011, 2:20 p.m.
McKinley Technical High School in Northeast prides itself on being a facility for high achievers....
Shira Fishman (center), 27, shares her excitement with students after being announced the 2011 Milken Educator Award recipient at McKinley Technical High School in Northeast, on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2011. Photo by Shevry Lassiter

McKinley Technical High School in Northeast prides itself on being a facility for high achievers. In fact, according to the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System (DCCAS), McKinley's students have proficiently increased to the point that nearly 90 percent of them are advanced in math and reading.

To that end, on Thursday when teachers and students gathered in the school's gymnasium, they thought they were being commended for their accomplishments. However, the assembly turned out to be in recognition of math teacher Shira Fishman's achievements in the classroom. For her efforts, Fishman, 32, was surprised with a $25,000 check, as the recipient of the 2011 Milken Educator Award, which exemplifies effective instructional practices and student learning.

(More images by Shevry Lassiter below)

"This is unbelievable and obviously I had no idea that this was happening ... I wish that every teacher in this school was standing here right now," Fishman said.

Based on guidelines established by the Foundation, participating states' departments of education appoint blue-ribbon committees that recommend candidates for selection. Identification and selection procedures are confidential, and the program does not include a formal nomination or application procedure.

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{besps_c}0|1-AR3-Studentswteacher-TeacherAward-Shevry-10-20-11-600x400.jpg|Shira Fishman (center), 27, shares her excitement with students after being announced the 2011 Milken Educator Award recipient at McKinley Technical High School in Northeast, on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2011. Photo by Shevry Lassiter . .||{/besps_c}


{besps_c}0|AR1-Milken-TeacherAward-Shevry-10-20-11.jpg|Lowell Milken, Chairman and Co-Founder, Milken Family Foundation, announces the recipient of the 2011 Milken Educator Award at McKinley Technical High School in Northeast, on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2011. Photo by Shevry Lassiter||{/besps_c}


{besps_c}0|AR2-Shira-Teacher-Award-Shevry-10-20-11.jpg|Shira Fishman, 27, receives the 2011 Milken Educator Award at McKinley Technical High School in Northeast, on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2011. Photo by Shevry Lassiter||{/besps_c}


{besps_c}0|AR4-ExecAsst-TeacherAward-Shevry-10-20-11.jpg|Charles Alston, Executive Assistant to the principal, congratulates Shira Fishman, recipient of the 2011 Milken Educator Award, on Thurs., Oct. 13, 2011, at McKinley Technical High School in Northeast. Photo by Shevry Lassiter .||{/besps_c}

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According to Milken Family Foundation founder and education reform leader Lowell Milken, "the main focus [of the award] is to find educators who are in their early to mid-career, who we believe have already made an enormous impact, and potentially, can achieve greater things in the future."

Milken also encouraged the students to consider a career in the classroom. "When you think about what you're going to do in your life, think about becoming a teacher," he said.

Saia McLeod, an 11th-grader, shared her enthusiasm over Fishman's accomplishment. "[The award] shows that she has really done something in her career as a teacher," said Saia,16, who noted that Fishman is one of her teachers.

Rachel Brody, 26, who also teaches at McKinley, said Fishman deserved the recognition. "She's a fabulous teacher," Brody said.