Two Southeastern graduates receive national educator award


Friday, March 1, 2024 
by: Tonya Lowentritt 


Kelly Ryan1) ST. TAMMANY PARISH TEACHER RECEIVES NATIONAL EDUCATOR AWARD - Kelly Ryan, a teacher at Northshore High School in Slidell, can’t believe her ears as her name is called as a recipient of the Milken Educator Award at her school’s assembly. She is the first-ever recipient of the Milken Educator Award in the St. Tammany Parish Public School System. Photo credit: Milken Family Foundation


Lauren Waguespack 2) ST. CHARLES PARISH TEACHER RECEIVES NATIONAL EDUCATOR AWARD - Moments after hearing her name announced as the newest Milken Educator, Lauren Waguespack is filled with emotion as she walks to the front of the Harry Hurst Middle School gymnasium in Destrehan - past students and colleagues cheering her on - to accept the award. Photo credit: Milken Family Foundation.

     HAMMOND – A pair of Southeastern Louisiana University two-time graduates have received the 2023-24 Milken Educator Award. The recipients are Kelly Ryan, who earned both a bachelor and master degree in biological sciences from Southeastern, and Lauren Waguespack, who earned bachelor and master degrees in education from Southeastern. The award comes with a $25,000 cash prize.
     The Milken Educator Awards were created in 1987 by philanthropist and education visionary Lowell Milken to empower recipients to “Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate” the K-12 profession and inspire young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career. The awards represent the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program, often hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching.”
     Ryan is an 11th and 12th grade science teacher at Northshore High School in Slidell, and Waguespack is a sixth-grade science teacher at Harry Hurst Middle School in Destrehan. Both were caught completely by surprise when Milken Educator Awards Founder Lowell Milken and Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley presented each with the prestigious honor at their respective schoolwide assemblies. 
     Both Ryan’s and Waguespack’s events are part of a historic, nationwide Milken Educator Awards tour that will honor up to 75 recipients with the Milken Educator Award. 
     Along with the financial prize, recipients will join the national Milken Educator Network, a growing group of professionals across diverse roles and disciplines working to shape the future of education. 

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