Annapolis High School math teacher Allison Felton arrived at an assembly today expecting to celebrate the school’s efforts to create avenues of wellness for students and staff.
A short time later, however, Felton learned that she was the focal point of the assembly, and her stellar work earned her $25,000 and a Milken Educator Award from Michael Milken, co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, who traveled from California to personally deliver the news.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Felton said minutes after her name was announced. “This is overwhelming. This is the only place I’ve ever taught and it’s special. The support I receive here from (Principal Sue) Chittim and my colleagues is just amazing. Just knowing that I have this support system here … my team, my department chair, everyone has just supported me.”
In addition to Milken, Gov. Larry Hogan; Speaker of the House Michael Busch; State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon; Board of Education President Julie Hummer and Member Maria Sasso; Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto, County Executive Steve Schuh, and Annapolis Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson were on hand to celebrate the news.
Felton is the only Maryland recipient of the award and one of 44 nationwide this year.
“Allison Felton is a true rock star,” Chittim said. “She truly understands the need for a rigorous mathematics education and supports that regardless of the readiness level of her students. She is committed to increasing their knowledge base and preparing them both for the next most rigorous course and for any assessments.”
Felton is in her sixth year of teaching. She has been the school’s lead Algebra I teacher for the last three years, helping to prepare students not just to meet graduation requirements, but to exceed them.
“Allison has led this team with a vision for student success,” Chittim said. “She is a natural leader of her peers and of students, and her drive and passion have earned her respect from peers, administrators and, most importantly, her students and their families.
A short time after the assembly ended, Felton spoke of the relationships she believes are key in her classroom.
“I tell my students I’ve got their backs 24/7,” Felton said. “I tell them that we’re going to struggle through this together. I try to run my class as honest as possible. The kids know I’m never going to sugar-coat anything. I think they respect that, and they trust me, and they work really hard for me.”
The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards program provides public recognition and financial rewards to elementary and secondary schoolteachers, principals, and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education. By honoring outstanding educators, the program strives to attract, develop, motivate, and retain talented people to the challenge and adventure of teaching.