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Melba Teacher Wins $25,000 National Teaching Award

Written By onci on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | 9:20 AM

BOISE – A 6th grade teacher in Melba received the 2010 Milken Educator Award for Idaho during a surprise assembly Tuesday morning.

Carmen Larrinaga, a teacher at Melba Elementary School, won the $25,000 prestigious award from the Milken Family Foundation for her innovative work in the classroom to raise student achievement and to keep students engaged. Along with the financial award, Larrinaga will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Milken National Education Conference focused on solutions to America’s pressing challenges in education today.

“I am honored to present Carmen Larrinaga with the prestigious Milken Educator of the Year Award. Through her work in the classroom each and every day, she serves as a great example of the highly effective and hard-working educators we have across Idaho,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “I also want to thank the Milken Family Foundation for continuing to recognize excellent teachers in Idaho and across the United States.”
Superintendent Tom Luna with 2010 Milken Educator of the Year Carmen Larrinaga in her classroom.
Larrinaga’s identity was kept secret until Superintendent Luna announced the award during a school-wide assembly at Melba Elementary School on Tuesday morning. Superintendent Luna was joined by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, State Board Member Milford Terrell, Dr. Jane Foley of the Milken Family Foundation, Melba School District Superintendent Andrew Grover, and Melba Elementary School Principal Sherry Ann Adams.
“I’d like to extend my congratulations to another outstanding Idaho teacher. Today’s recognition by the Milken Family Foundation again affirms that Idaho is home to some of our nation’s best educators. Carmen Larrinaga is a true asset to her students and the entire community,” Governor Otter said.
As Milken Educator of the Year, Larrinaga receives $25,000!


Larrinaga is now one of 12 educators in Idaho who have received the prestigious Milken Educator Award since Idaho joined the Milken program in 2003. More than 2,500 educators have received the award nationwide.

“Thank you so much. Teaching in Melba is such a blessing,” Larrinaga said after the announcement. “It has been a great seven-plus years. I’m looking forward to many more years and many more great students.”
Larrinaga accepting her award during a surprise assembly in Melba.

The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982 to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research. For more information about the Milken Family Foundation, please visit www.mff.org.

Here's more about Carmen Larrinaga.

Carmen Larrinaga, 29, has been a classroom teacher for seven years. Though she has only been in the profession a short time, Principal Sherry Ann Adams says Larrinaga’s “classroom performance exceeds what is typically seen from a new teacher.”

“Carmen creates and maintains a classroom environment that encourages students to perform at high levels both academically and socially,” Adams said. “Carmen is always willing to step up and help out whenever and wherever needed to make our school more successful.”

In addition to being a classroom teacher, Larrinaga serves on the district technology committee and helped the school and district implement a new student management program. She helps mentor new teachers, and her colleagues recognize she works well with all students, including students with special needs and limited English proficient (LEP) students.

~ Melissa M. 
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