Milken Award Winners

Wyoming Department of Education > Superintendent's Update > Milken Award Winners

Dear Superintendents,

Milken Award Winners

Friday was a big day for two of our distinguished Wyoming teachers, as they received the 2021 Milken award. Called the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Family Foundation targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future. The awards come as a complete surprise to the awardees, their families, colleagues, students and friends. How they pull this off is truly amazing.

This morning at Cheyenne Central High School, Governor Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon were on hand to share in the excitement as Aaron Kruger, a 10-12 grade Social Studies teacher received the surprise of a lifetime – a $25,000 giant check – and a real, normal sized one, too.

Watch the video announcement here.


Then the First Lady and myself headed up to Casper to surprise Becky Junge, a fourth grade teacher at Journey Elementary with her Milken award. I had the honor of calling out her name, and what a thrill that was. She received $25,000 as well. Watch her award video here.

Find out more about the Milken Foundation and the awards here. There are no restrictions on how the recipients can use the monies awarded to them.

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Language Proficiency – Seal of Biliteracy

On Monday, Governor Mark Gordon signed SEA0047, the Language Proficiency – Seal of Biliteracy into law. It requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a Wyoming seal of biliteracy and an advanced distinction for high school graduates who are proficient in English and one or more world languages. This bill is effective July 1, 2022.

New Chief Policy Officer

As you will see in some of the memos below, Wanda Maloney is the new Chief Policy Officer here at the WDE, as Kari Eakins is transitioning to a position at the Department of Workforce Services. Please join me in thanking Kari for her time at the WDE, and welcoming Wanda into her new role.

Memos to be released today: