Kearney educator gets “Oscar of Teaching”

Bryant Elementary teacher Michelle Fouts received a $25,000 Milken Education award. Fouts teaches second grade at Bryant.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 10:22 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - A Kearney teacher was surprised Wednesday morning when she received a prestigious education award.

Bryant Elementary teacher Michelle Fouts received a $25,000 Milken Education award. Fouts teaches second grade at Bryant.

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 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.

Bryant Principal Dustin Mitchell told Local4 News Fouts receiving the award was well deserved.

”Her love for teaching and learning and reading and everything that she has to do as a teacher really carries through to her students and they love her which, in turn, makes them love learning,” Mitchell said.

Following the award ceremony, Fouts and her second graders gathered back in their classroom where the students gave her handwritten notes and drawings to congratulate her.

”I love what I do, like, I truly love teaching and I just have a passion for it and I’ve had opportunities to go other routes and I just — I can’t leave the classroom,” Fouts said. “Like, I love making a group of kids, you know, my own and they come in as little kids at the beginning of the year and the end of the year we’re just this kind of tight-nit family.”

The Milken Family foundation recognized Fouts for her efforts to promote reading at Bryant, including a program called Books and Braids where students are invited to come to school early to read and have their hair braided at the same time. This year, Fouts was one of two Milken Educator Award recipients in Nebraska.

Fouts graduated from UNK where she received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching.

Copyright 2022 KSNB. All rights reserved.