Oct. 17, 2002
Contact: Ward Mullens

Eastern Michigan University Students Earn
Prestigious Milken National Educator Award

YPSILANTI – Elementary teachers Jennifer Murphy of Waterford and Stacie Smith of Detroit are the most recent additions to Eastern Michigan University’s long list of Milken National Educator Award winners.

Murphy, a teacher at Sayre Elementary in South Lyon, and Smith, a teacher at William Davison Elementary in Detroit will receive a no-strings-attached $25,000 cash award.

“We are extremely proud of them, their accomplishments, and this tremendous national recognition. They are representative of many wonderful teachers in Michigan and elsewhere who have an EMU affiliation,” said Dr. Jerry Robbins, dean of EMU’s College of Education.

With the addition of Murphy and Smith, Eastern Michigan University’s tradition of Milken National Educator Award winners extends to 23 since 1990.

“We know of no other institution anywhere in the country that has had this many alums among the Milken awardees,” Robbins said.

“It’s truly a blessing. I am happy but still don’t know how I got selected. I don’t know how you say ‘thank you’ for this honor,” said Smith, who has taught at Davison for the past six years. “I just do what I love to do. I have always wanted to be a teacher and to be rewarded for something you love to do, that’s phenomenal. I’m still dreaming.”

Murphy, who is completing her master’s degree in educational leadership at EMU, has worked as a teacher at Sayre since 1996. She is a member of the Michigan Council for Social Studies and the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Smith, who earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from EMU, has worked as a teacher at Davison since 1997. She also is a member of the National Science Teachers Association and the Michigan Council for the Social Studies.

The program was created in conjunction with the Milken Family Foundation to provide public and financial recognition to teachers, principals, and other education professionals who advance the notion of educational excellence. The program is conducted in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Education.

The criteria for the selection of outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and other education professionals as Milken Educators include: exceptional educational talent as evidenced by outstanding practices in the classroom, school, and profession; outstanding accomplishment and strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership; engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues, and the community. Michigan has participated in the Milken Educator Award Program since 1990.

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan university committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service. EMU offers more than 200 programs in the arts, sciences and professionals through traditional classroom settings, on-site continuing education classes and on-line courses. EMU is the fifth largest university in Michigan, serving 24,000 students from around the world and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.