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Weinland Park Elementary Teacher Honored with Prestigious Award

Anne Evans Anne Evans Weinland Park Elementary Teacher Honored with Prestigious AwardThird-grade math and science teacher Tiffany Tynes Curry is shocked to hear that she has won Ohio's 2016-17 Milken Educator Award and $25,000. Photo courtesy Milken Family Foundation.
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It seemed like an ordinary assembly, but for one teacher at Weinland Park Elementary School, the assembly to commend the school on its partnership with Ohio State University and progress on the Third Grade Reading Guarantee turned out to be a huge surprise! Tiffany Tynes Curry was honored this morning with a Milken Educator Award. She was the only teacher in Ohio to receive this distinction this year, and the first from Columbus City Schools since 2002.

“Mrs. Tynes Curry is an exemplary model of the educator Columbus City Schools is proud to call one of our own,” said Columbus City Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Good. “Her excellent standard of creating a student-centered, innovative learning environment inspires that ‘Spirit of Success’ among our children to reach their full potential. This award is well-deserved.”

Dr. Good, alongside Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley and Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo A. DeMaria, presented the award to Mrs. Tynes Curry during the assembly.

Across the nation, thirty-five teachers received the Milken Educator Award, and each winner also received a cash prize of $25,000.

Weinland Park students recite the Pledge of Allegiance as the morning assembly gets underway. Photo courtesy Milken Family Foundation.

Weinland Park students recite the Pledge of Allegiance as the morning assembly gets underway. Photo courtesy Milken Family Foundation.

Tynes Curry has been an educator in the Columbus City Schools for 14 years. She has been teaching third grade math and science at Weinland Park Elementary for two years. With the excellent foundation Tynes Curry provides her students, the fourth-graders turn in the highest performance in the division cohort for math and science.

“My favorite part of teaching 3rd grade is the fact that this is the transitional year academically and developmentally,” she says. “Students are more mature, but also still fun and playful at this age.”

She works to teach the whole child. Her students pair up with Pre-K students, providing an opportunity for them to exercise both academic and social leadership skills. Her dedication to learning extends to all aspects of Weinland Park, where she has been a member of Weinland Park’s Building Leadership Team as well as the district’s School Improvement Team. She develops opportunities for professional development for other teachers, participates in Ohio State University’s ASPIRE program to support new educators, and is known for her ability to gain the attention of her audience and lead productive discussions.

Tynes Curry graduated from Mifflin High School, earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Wittenberg University in 2001, a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University in 2006 and is currently working toward her Doctorate of Education in teacher leadership at Walden University.

“Yes, I am a product of Columbus City Schools and a Columbus, Ohio native,” says Tynes Curry. “I stayed in Columbus after graduating from Wittenberg University because Columbus is home. Most importantly, I returned as I wanted to work with students who represented me growing up. Growing up poor is frowned upon. We’re a statistic. I wanted to be an example for my students, that your beginning doesn’t determine your end. Hard work and dedication are key components of success. Education is truly empowering! The road won’t always be easy- but all things are possible! I am living proof.”

The Milken Family Foundation has been honoring teachers, specialists, and principals with the Milken Educator Awards for 30 years. Milken Educators are “selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.”

There is no formal nomination process for the awards.

“Teachers don’t find us, we find them as a way to honor the unsung heroes among us,” says Sabrina Skacan, Media Relations Manager for the Milken Family Foundation.

Skacan shares more insight about the process:

Participating states’ departments of education establish Blue Ribbon panels that select educators who have been recommended through an entirely confidential process. The Educator Award honors teachers, specialists and principals in early-to-mid-education careers. Educators are sourced through each state’s DOE, based on the following criteria:

  • Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school.
  • Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession.
  • Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight.
  • Early- to mid-career and educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership.
  • Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues and the community

“I was in disbelief when my name was called!” says Tynes Curry. “I just could not believe that I was selected for such a prestigious award! Me, once viewed as another statistic (single mom, urban, etc), like many of the students I teach.”

Tynes Curry has been working hard to balance all aspects of life: work, mother, wife, extracurriculars, completion of her doctoral degree, and caring for her ill mother. She plans to use the prize money to provide for her daughter’s education.

Watch as Tiffany Tynes Curry is surprised and accepts the award:

For more information, visit milkeneducatorawards.org.

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