In a surprise announcement at her school, Teresa Chan Seidel, IAL ’13, learned she is a winner of the prestigious 2014 Milken Award, which comes with a $25,000 unrestricted gift from the Milken Family Foundation. She is one of only 36 winners throughout the country. Ms. Seidel is a sixth grade math teacher at Robert Gray Middle School in Portland Public Schools and heads the Talented and Gifted program at the school.
Ms. Seidel is a graduate of the GSE’s Initial Administrator Program (IAL) in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. “She’s a rock star, and will be a future diverse leader in Portland,” says Professor Amy Petti, her PSU advisor, who fondly remembers Seidel bringing her second baby to class.
Ms. Seidel is a first generation college graduate and the daughter of Asian immigrants who understands what it is like to be a minority in a K-12 school. She was first hired in PPS by Principal Beth Madison at George Middle School, and then was hired by Beth Madison again at Robert Gray Middle School. Ms. Seidel is a gifted math teacher, who creates projects at her school that help classroom teachers discover and appreciate minority students in their classrooms.
“She’s a leader,” says Principal Madison. “She’s someone who people could look to for moving their organization forward and making their organization better.”
The award was presented by billionaire Mike Milken, cofounder of the foundation, along with Rob Saxton, Oregon’s deputy superintendent of schools and PPS Superintendent Carole Smith.
The Milken Award is presented each year to teachers in early-to mid-career to encourage and inspire quality in the teaching profession. Each state’s department of education quietly works behind the scenes to select recipients, with the winner announced in a surprise assembly at the teacher’s school. As a Milken awardee, Ms. Seidel will be added to the Milken roster and have access to all 2600 prior winners for future networking and support in the field. Over $64 million has been awarded to educators in America.