FREELAND, MD— In a surprise assembly this week, Melissa Salkeld, a kindergarten teacher at Prettyboy Elementary School, received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for her unique combination of high expectations and heartfelt dedication that encourages social, emotional and academic growth in her young learners. Every year, Salkeld’s kindergarteners show marked improvement over their peers, ready and equipped to thrive in school.
Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley, Maryland Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury and Superintendent of Schools for Baltimore County Public Schools Dr. Darryl Williams presented Salkeld with the honor before cheering students, colleagues, state and local officials and the media. Salkeld will join the national Milken Educator Network, a cadre of more than 2,800 educators and leaders across the U.S. dedicated to furthering quality K-12 education.
“Kindergarten teachers like Melissa Salkeld have the important responsibility of providing fertile ground for all students to grow, both academically and as individuals,” said Dr. Foley, who is herself a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana. “In Melissa’s classroom, students develop crucial skills of self-motivation, independence, collaboration, and critical thinking. Melissa’s talents extend beyond the classroom through her membership on Prettyboy’s instructional leadership team, where she advocates for equitable educational opportunities for all. We welcome Melissa Salkeld into the Milken Educator Award family today and look forward to the contributions she will bring on a national scale. Congratulations, Melissa!”
Salkeld is the first educator from Prettyboy Elementary School and among some 60 educators coast-to-coast who will receive the Award during the 2021-22 school year. She is the only Milken Educator Award recipient from Maryland this season.
“Today, we are among greatness. As a Milken Educator Award winner, Melissa Salkeld sets the standard for excellence in education, not only in Maryland but throughout the country,” said Maryland State Superintendent Choudhury. “I share my congratulations and thanks to Ms. Salkeld, Prettyboy Elementary School and Baltimore County Schools for their commitment to outstanding teaching and learning. We know that teachers profoundly impact the positive trajectory of student lives, which reverberates through our communities, the fabric of our nation and generations yet to come. Our mission to realize a bright future for every child is only possible through the efforts of educators like Ms. Salkeld whose exceptional skill, dedication and success prioritizes both the academic acceleration and social-emotional wellbeing of her young students.”
“Melissa Salkeld is a tremendous example of the impact great teachers have on the lives of their students,” said Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Williams. “Her innovative teaching methods, leadership in the school community and unwavering belief in her students have consistently resulted in positive outcomes for students. Congratulations to Melissa, her students, and the entire Prettyboy Elementary School community for this well-deserved recognition.”
Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” Milken Educator Awards inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities. The Awards are not designated for lifetime achievement. Recipients are heralded while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities inherent in the Award.
Oprah, a longtime education advocate, shared her congratulations to this year’s winners in a video message shared earlier this year thanking “the most incredible educators around the country” and acknowledging her deep appreciation for the “tireless work” they do. U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona said Milken Educators “personify excellence in education” and “inspire leadership and motivate students to excel.”