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Chicago teacher named Milken National Educator

CHICAGO -- Rana Khan has had the same group of students for three years and could not be happier about it! At O.A. Sexton Elementary School Kahn’s class has “looped” which means that as her students advanced a grade she went right along with them. Therefore, her class is comprised of students she taught in third grade, fourth grade, and now fifth grade. The sense of continuity for her students has made a real difference in their academic achievement.

According to Khan’s principal, Ginger Bryant; “Every single student in Rana’s class scores are off the charts, especially in math and reading. We see 2-3 year growth in her kids.”

Rana has only been teaching for six years but in those six years she has continued learning right alongside her students. Since she is determined to help every student become successful, Rana makes a point to pursue workshops and professional development opportunities that will equip her to better help her students achieve their goals.

It is this determination and initiative that led the Milken Family Foundation to select her as one of two Illinois recipients of the prestigious Milken National Educator Award.

The announcement came as a complete surprise to almost everyone in the crowded auditorium at O.A. Sexton Elementary School on Tuesday morning. Using the premise that Arne Duncan was visiting the school, an assembly was put together. The reality was something on a much bigger scale as local dignitaries, politicians, members of the State Board of Education, and of course, Arne Duncan, took their places. Then Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation was introduced. A few people in the audience recognized the name but the secret remained intact. After a short speech about outstanding teachers and the importance of education, Milken announced the real reason for the assembly.

The prestigious award is given annually to teachers demonstrating exemplary teaching skills and personal commitment to education. Each winner receives $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation that they may use in any manner.

Khan’s dedication and passion for helping students be all that they can be attracted the attention of the Milken foundation and led them to Chicago. She’s a natural born leader who is happiest working directly with students. Her colleagues frequently seek her out with ideas or to ask for advice on reaching students that are struggling. She embraces collaboration and is eager to do whatever it takes to help students learn.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Milken National Educator Awards. Approximately 100 teachers in 48 states and the District of Columbia will receive Milken awards this year. Since 1987, over $56 million has been awarded to more than 2,200 educators. New recipients 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. 102 Illinois teachers and principals have received the Milken National Educator award since its inception.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777