MC Graduate Receives $25,000
November 9, 2007Mississippi College graduate Madelene Loftin is among 100 educators from around the nation who are each $25,000 richer.
A science teacher at Wingfield High in Jackson, Loftin picked up the extra cash as a recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. Brandon Middle School teacher Rachael McKinney was Mississippi's other winner.
A graduate of Hinds Community College and MC, Loftin, like other winners nationwide, was kept in the dark until the award was announced Thursday afternoon by leaders of the California-based Milken Family Foundation.
"We are extremely proud of our Milken recipients," said Mississippi Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds. "Research indicates that the single most important factor in student achievement is the quality of the teacher in the classroom and these two are excellent examples of quality educators."
The prestigious award was first given in 1987 to provide public recognition and a financial reward to teachers, principals or other top educators. The Mississippi recipients were recommended by a state Department of Education committee.
Thursday's awards went to 100 educators nationwide. Loftin has been recognized before for her classroom accomplishments. For the 2006-2007 academic year, she was named Teacher of the Year for the Jackson Public Schools.
Days after winning the award, the thrill hasn't gone. "I couldn't have been more surprised and more happy."
What to do with the $25,000? "I think a family vacation to Disneyworld is likely. I plan to pay some bills and start a savings account for my sons," Madeline Loftin said.
Loftin's husband, James, is a physics major, due to graduate from Mississippi College in December. They have a son who plans to attend MC next year.
Mississippi has participated in the Milken program since 1991 with a total of 61 educators receiving $1.52 million from the Milken Family Foundation. Nationwide, the group has given away $58 million to outstanding educators.
Principal Robert Mack, School Board President Delmer C. Stamps, Bounds and Milken officials joined students for the surprise salute to Loftin in the Wingfield auditorium. A Pearl resident, Loftin is president of the Mississippi Science Association of Biology Educators.
In January, the two Mississippi winners will be honored at a luncheon by Mississippi Department of Education leaders and officials with the Millken Family Foundation.
PHOTO: Mississippi Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds joins Wingfield teacher Madelene Loftin at Thursday's celebration.