October 17, 2013
For immediate release
Denise Kahler, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876
Topeka educator earns $25,000 award as a 2013 Milken Family Foundation National Educator
TOPEKA – High school art teacher Brad LeDuc was named a Milken National Educator (MNE) today by the Milken Family Foundation in a surprise ceremony at Washburn Rural High School in Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437. As a Milken National Educator, LeDuc will receive an unrestricted cash award of $25,000.
Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-founder Lowell Milken was joined by Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane DeBacker, Deputy Commissioner Dale M. Dennis, and Auburn-Washburn Superintendent Dr. Brenda Dietrich at the school where LeDuc teaches. LeDuc was unaware he was being considered for the award until Lowell Milken revealed the name of the 2013 Milken National Educator to the applause and cheers of fellow teachers, administrators and students.
LeDuc is one of approximately 40 educators around the country being recognized this year with the MNE distinction. Candidates for the award are early- to mid-career educators who have shown evidence of exceptional educational talent through effective instructional practices and student learning results and who have shown exemplary educational accomplishments outside of the classroom.
“Our public education system is at the heart of America’s promise and essential to safeguarding the American dream for future generations,” said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. “With research confirming that effective teachers represent the single most important school-related factor in raising student achievement, it is important to honor them, learn from them, and inspire more capable people to enter the profession. As the program’s motto extols, the future belongs to the educated.” LeDuc has been teaching for more than 12 years. He started his teaching career in McLouth USD 342, teaching K-12 art. From McLouth, LeDuc spent three years teaching in Tennessee before moving back to Kansas in 2008 and accepting a teaching position at Washburn Rural High School. For the past five years he has been teaching art at Washburn Rural High School in the Auburn-Washburn District. LeDuc’s assistant principal, Kyle Reed, said LeDuc is the kind of person born to teach. “Since Brad’s arrival at WRHS,” said Reed, “the interest of our student body in art courses increased so much that we added a staff member to the Art Department. I can say with certainty that the quality of instruction provided by Mr. LeDuc, coupled with his contributions as an Art Department team member, have resulted in increased student achievement over the past five years.”
Auburn-Washburn Art Dean Cindy Daniels says that LeDuc was instrumental in the development of WRHS’s Advanced Placement studio art class. “The results of his creation have been very rewarding to watch. We have seen an increase in scholarships and an increase in the amounts of scholarship awards. We also have had quite a few students gain acceptance into prestigious arts schools such as Savannah Institute of Art and the Chicago Institute of Art, among others. Before Brad, admissions to these schools were few and far between. Our students were not being trained for admission into these prestigious schools.”
Cynthia Burgett, a teacher at WRHS, adds “Brad is the kind of art teacher that makes every student believe he/she can meet the high standards he sets, and he works hard to help each individual meet those standards.” According to Burgett, since LeDuc joined the WRHS Art Department, more students have entered in and succeeded in art competitions than in the 22 years preceding.
LeDuc joins 60 other Kansas educators who have received the MNE award since Kansas began participating in the program in 1992.
“It is always an honor to recognize outstanding educators like Brad LeDuc,” said Dr. DeBacker. “In Kansas, we are so fortunate to have educators like Brad who go above and beyond to ensure their students will be successful. I am grateful to the Milken Family Foundation for understanding the contributions made by educators in our nation and for providing us the opportunity to recognize those individuals in a very significant way.”
The Milken Educator Awards have grown to become the nation’s largest teacher recognition program. Since its inception in 1987, the Milken Educator Awards have recognized nearly 2,600 educators, providing more than $64 million in awards. The up to 40 educators who will become MNE recipients in 2013 will join the Milken Educator Network, a rich resource of educators and other influential leaders accessible to fellow teachers, legislators, school boards, and others who are shaping the future of education. The award program is one of several programs sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation in the areas of education and medicine.