Jennifer Fuller, an alumna of UTA's College of Education and an Arlington teacher, has been awarded a national teaching award in recognition of her efforts to further excellence in education.
Mike Morath, Texas Education Agency commissioner, Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, and Arlington ISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos presented a Milken Educator Award, known as the "Oscars of Teaching," to the Arlington Collegiate High School English Language Arts teacher recently.
Fuller is among up to 45 educators who received the prestigious honor during this season. The award also includes a $25,000 cash prize for each recipient. Fuller was one of two Texas teachers to receive the award, along with Slaton school district teacher Katie Negen.
"Jennifer Fuller and Katie Negan reflect the very best of the teaching profession in Texas," Morath said. "Their hard work in the classroom, coupled with an ongoing commitment to student success, help illustrate why effective teachers deserve our respect and gratitude for helping shape the future of Texas."
Foley said Jennifer Fuller is a master of curriculum.
"She puts a laser focus on depth and critical thinking - skills her students need to transition to college and career," said Foley, who added that the Milken Awards have been around for 30 years. "The high expectations she holds are reflected in the student achievement growth she sees regularly. I warmly welcome her into the national Milken Educator Network and look forward to her contributions."
Teresa Taber Doughty, dean of UTA's College of Education, said an alumna receiving a Milken Educator Award speaks volumes about Ms. Fuller and how the college prepares students to meet the teaching challenges of today.
"We are so proud of Ms. Fuller and her accomplishments," Doughty said. "It shows that what our educators are doing has staying power and shows the value of UTA's education program."
Fuller graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington in 2003 with a Master of Education in Teaching degree.
She has played a crucial role in the development of Arlington Collegiate High School, a unique four-year-old partnership with Tarrant County College. She varies her mission of teaching the essential elements of English to sophomores and juniors through group work, presentations, discussions, extensive reading and writing.
Fuller prompts critical thinking and problem solving as her students explore concepts culturally relevant to their development. As a result, her classes have received the highest end-of-course exam scores in the district for two consecutive years.
"This has been such an overwhelming and exciting experience," Fuller said. "I was completely shocked when I was awarded the Milken Award last week, and I feel very humbled by the experience. I have been teaching in Arlington for 15 years, and I was lucky to help open Arlington Collegiate High School four years ago. I am now an embedded faculty member at TCC Southeast teaching dual credit English 1301 to our juniors."
Looking back, Fuller appreciates the time she spent at UTA.
"The English and education classes I took at UTA have been instrumental in shaping the instructional strategies I now use with my classes," she said. "Three of our ACHS seniors are actually taking an education class at UTA right now, and I am excited to see them develop into incredible educators one day soon."
Since the Milken Family Foundation first presented the Milken Educator Awards in 1987, it has become an acclaimed teacher recognition program and was dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teacher magazine. More than $138 million in funding, including over $68 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall program, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients' careers.
In Texas, fifty recipients have been presented with the Milken Educator Award since the program began here in 2000.
Two other UTA alumna have been awarded the Milken Educator Award.
Janice Crowley, a 1980 UTA graduate, received the award in 1997 while teaching chemistry at Santa Rosa Junior College.
Deborah Pardue, a 1974 UTA graduate, received the award in 1998 while teaching at Yucca Elementary School in New Mexico.
The Milken Educator Awards, TEA and AISD contributed to this report.