Tiffany Miera, a 2022 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, has received a $25,000 national Milken Educator Award as the sole Colorado recipient of the honor this 2022-23 season. She earned a master’s in educational leadership with a principal certification at Southeastern.
Miera is a fifth-grade math teacher at Needham Elementary School in Durango, Colorado. She was caught completely by surprise when Milken Educator Awards Founder Lowell Milken, joined by Colorado Department of Education Associate Commissioner of Educator Talent Dr. Colleen O’Neil, presented her with the prestigious honor at a recent school assembly.
The event was part of the Milken Family Foundation’s 2022-23 coast-to-coast tour surprising outstanding educators with the Milken Educator Award and its accompanying unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Miera is among up to 40 educators who will be presented with the Award during this school year.
Miera embraces innovative practices, always putting students’ needs first and encouraging them to take risks, try new things, think creatively and critically, and embrace a growth mindset. After students made significant strides when she piloted the Concepts for Learning Mathematics process, including “math congress” discussions that encourage students to talk about math thinking, Miera mentored other teachers to give more students access to her highly effective practices. She previously taught special education and is determined to provide appropriate access points to learning for all students, focused on grade-level proficiency.
A leader in her building and district, Miera has served on Needham’s instructional leadership, math curriculum, cultural, and gifted and talented teams. She received a district grant to increase efforts around diversity and gifted and talented offerings at Needham. Miera has led professional development for elementary math colleagues, mentors new and student teachers, and welcomes district colleagues into her classroom to observe. Determined to close achievement gaps that resulted from the pandemic, Miera created a mixed-grade cohort for hybrid learning during the 2020-21 school year, providing rich in-person and online instruction to two different clusters on a complicated alternating-day schedule.
Miera is a Durango native with strong community ties — she was once a Needham student herself and has spent her entire career in education at the school. She builds relationships with all students and works collaboratively with families to meet each child’s needs, including those with individualized education and behavior plans.
The Milken Educator Awards were created by Lowell Milken in 1987 to celebrate, elevate and activate the teaching profession. It is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program, often hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching.” The Milken Family Foundation has devoted more than $140 million in funding to the Milken Educator Awards, including more than $73 million in individual Awards to more than 2,900 recipients plus powerful professional learning opportunities and networking with leading education stakeholders.
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