The Milken Educator Award, described as the “Oscars of teaching”, recognizes outstanding teachers at the midpoint of their career. This year the Milken Family Foundation recognized Hartford Teachers Tamika Knight.
A Hartford teacher for 12 years, Tamika grew up in the Hartford School System, attending Milner Elementary, Quirk Middle and the former Classical Magnet program at Hartford Public High School, Tamika always envisioned herself as a Hartford teacher.
Unlike most teacher awards, the Milken Educator Award has no formal nomination or application process. Every participating state’s department of education appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to recommend candidates according to strict criteria, with final selections made by the Milken Family Foundation. Tamika says “One of the biggest lessons I teach my fifth-graders is you never know who’s watching you.” How right she is.
On Jan. 25, Tamika was surprised at the morning assembly where she was presented with the award and a check for $25,000, by Jane Foley, a senior vice president with the Milken Family Foundation. Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, school board Chairman Matthew Poland and Mayor Pedro Segarra, joined the students in applauding Knight.
“Character, how you treat other people, what you say, how you present yourself all the time,” said Knight. “That’s what makes good people.”
“I’m still in awe of this moment,” said Knight. “I couldn’t do this without my students.”