For Immediate Release
October 10, 2007

Chicago Language teacher earns national recognition for bringing the world to her students

Carl Schurz High School teacher receives Milken National Educator Award

CHICAGO-The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Milken Family Foundation announced today that Chicago Public Schools teacher Samantha Godden-Chmielowicz has been selected as a Milken National Educator. Godden-Chmielowicz, a World Language teacher at Carl Schurz High School, will receive $25,000 as part of the award.

“Illinois has some of the best teachers in the world and we’re proud of not only the work they do in their classroom, but also their commitment to every aspect of their students’ lives,” said Jesse Ruiz, Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. “I want to thank the Milken Family Foundation for their support and recognition of exemplary teachers.”

Godden-Chmielowicz has been teaching for thirteen years. She is credited with bringing the National Honor Societies of French, Italian and Spanish to students at Schurz. According to her colleagues, her tireless efforts have helped students not only improve their knowledge of foreign languages but they have also improved their reading, language and vocabulary skills in every subject. Principal Mary Ann Folino says, “under Sam’s guidance, students perform at their highest ability because she lets them know she believes in them.”

Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation was joined by local dignitaries, politicians and members of the Illinois State Board of Education for an assembly at Schurz where the surprise announcement was made. The prestigious award is given annually to teachers demonstrating exemplary teaching skills and a personal commitment to education. Each winner receives $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation which they can use however they wish.

Godden-Chmielowicz has also played an integral role in making the school’s foreign language curriculum successful and continuously implementing new strategies to further improve the program. She applied for, and received, a grant to promote foreign language acquisition.

This year marks the 21st anniversary of the Milken Educator Awards. Up to 80 educators across the country will receive the award during the next six weeks. Since 1987, more than $58 million has been awarded to more than 2,300 recipients, including the 2007 awardees. New winners 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. Illinois joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 1988 and to date 104 educators across the state have been named National Educators.