Frank Iannucci, a West Orange High School math and computer science teacher, received the $25,000 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award Friday at a surprise ceremony at the school.
Milken Foundation co-founder Michael Milken presented the award to Iannucci in front of a room full of students, teachers and education officials. The award is part of the foundation's 25th Annual National Notifications tour honoring outstanding educators across the nation.
Iannucci is responsible for forming a chapter of the National Mathematics Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta at the high school. The 96 student members serve as tutors for students struggling with math.
In addition to being a strong advocate for students, Iannucci also serves as a mentor for novice teachers and is working with the West Orange School District to build an on-line learning management system to promote on-line home instruction for students and professional development for staff.
Iannucci has nine years experience in education and has taught in the West Orange district for five years. He previously taught in Bloomfield and Ridgefield Park. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Montclair State University.
"For a quarter-century, the Milken Family Foundation has highlighted the fact that the quality of the teacher in the classroom is the most important in-school factor in determining student achievement," state Deputy Education Commissioner Andy Smarick said. "I congratulate Mr. Iannucci for his dedication to student learning and student success, as evidenced by the fact that 99 percent of his students taking Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 and computer science demonstrate proficiency and receive numerous honors."
The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards provide public recognition and financial rewards to outstanding elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other education professionals.
Since the award was established in 1985, the program has recognized more than 2,500 distinguished educators with individual unrestricted awards of $25,000. A total of $137 million has been devoted to the overall program, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout the recipients' careers in education.
Dubbed the 'Oscars of teaching' by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Educator Awards program recognizes the importance of outstanding educators and encourages talented people to enter the teaching profession. Unlike most teaching awards, the Milken Educator Awards have no formal nomination or application process. Each year, exceptional teachers, principals, and specialists— recommended without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state's department of education—are surprised with the news of their awards.
New Jersey joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 2002 and 20 teachers from the state have received awards totaling $500,000.
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM