DU Alumna Receives Educator Award
Jennie Schmaltz, a 2009 graduate of the Morgridge College of Education, was awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award. The honor recognizes her commitment to her students, their families, her co-workers and the community. The award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize, is recognized by Teacher magazine as the “Oscar of Teaching.”
Schmaltz works at Elkhart Elementary School in Aurora, where she splits time between teaching third grade and serving as the school’s Teacher Partner, providing instructional coaching for other teachers. She has helped Elkhart deliver on two main objectives: boosting student achievement and lowering the staff turnover rate. The majority of the teachers Schmaltz supports have seen an increase in student achievement, and in a recent survey, 90 percent of staff members said they were pleased with the professional development Schmaltz provides.
“Data-driven, deeply caring and committed to community, Jennie Schmaltz personifies the qualities of an outstanding teacher,” said Lowell Milken, the Milken Foundation chairman and co-founder. “By embracing the diverse instructional needs of Elkhart Elementary School, Schmaltz helps improve the academic performance and engagement of her students while boosting the morale and development of her faculty.”
Elkhart is a K-5 International Baccalaureate (IB) World School that serves a high-minority and high-poverty community in Aurora. Schmaltz serves on the school’s instructional leadership team and is the IB coordinator. She also heads the literacy professional development for Aurora Public Schools.
“Ms. Schmaltz is thoughtful and creative in her approach to helping every student shape a successful future,” Aurora Superintendent Rico Munn said. “She considers the individual needs and strengths of her students and colleagues. Ms. Schmaltz challenges everyone at Elkhart Elementary to perform at the highest level.”
This year marks the 30th year of the Milken Educator Award. Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the cash prize, Schmaltz’s honor includes membership in the national Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top principals, teachers and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.
Schmaltz received a master of arts in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on literacy, from Morgridge. She received her bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Colorado.