For Immediate Release
November 9, 2011

Hersey High School social studies teacher singled out for national recognition

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS —The Illinois State Board of Education and the Milken Family Foundation announced today that Bradley Abel, a social studies teacher at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, has been chosen as the Illinois recipient of the Milken National Educator Award. Abel, a ninth-grade teacher, will receive $25,000 as part of the award.

“Brad is a young educator who is a natural teacher, leader and mentor. His commitment to helping students of all levels become successful learners is making a difference in the lives of students and teachers alike,” said State Superintendent Christopher A. Koch. “We appreciate the Milken family’s generosity in providing this caliber of award. Brad’s hard work on co-creating curriculum for the school’s AP classes resulted in increased student participation in AP courses and improved scores on AP exams. This is just one example of his teaching expertise.”

Abel is not only a remarkable teacher, he is also the head coach for the Hersey girls soccer team, where he has also experienced success with his students. A dedicated community service advocate, Abel leads by example. Once a week he gives up his lunch hour for the “Service Over Self” program in which Hersey students travel to help at a school for students with special needs. Students serve as big brothers and sisters in this program. The impact Brad and his students have on one another highlights Brad’s strengths in both teaching and leadership roles.

“His involvement in sports has made Brad very visible in the community and with kids. His coaching style mirrors his teaching style, always positive and encouraging,” said Dr. Tina Cantrell, principal of Hersey High School. “I think one of his best strengths as a role model to kids is his ability to always offer positive reinforcement. He believes in our students and they know it.”

Currently in his eighth year of teaching, Abel has become a valued leader and mentor to new teachers as well as veteran teachers. His ability to always see the positive and encourage others to do their best is equally as effective with his colleagues and students.

The Milken National Educator Award is given annually to teachers demonstrating exemplary skills and a personal commitment to education.  Each winner receives $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation, which they can use however they wish. Michael Milken, Co-Founder of the Foundation, was present at Wednesday’s surprise announcement.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Milken Educator Awards. Since 1987 more than 2,500 educators across the country have been awarded a total of more than $63 million in individual, unrestricted awards. Illinois joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 1988 and to date 109 educators across the state have been named National Educators.