Milken Award WinnerWaxahachie, TX – October 18, 2011 – Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Alumna Andrea Morales McKenna was presented with a Milken Educator Award on October 7, 2011. McKenna is the only Arkansas teacher this year and the first Hispanic in her state to receive the award.

J.O. Kelly Middle School ESL teacher Andrea Morales McKenna was surprised on Friday morning at a school assembly, disguised as a Young Adolescent Month celebration, when Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe presented her with the award. Neither students nor faculty members were aware that McKenna would be receiving the award. She will travel to Washington D.C. with other Milken award winners for an annual celebration.

The Milken Family Foundation has presented over 2,500 teachers, principals and specialists with the Educator Award. It is given to only 40 teachers and administrators per year; Recipients are awarded $25,000. The award is not received by nomination or application, but decided upon by a committee from each state department with strict criteria. After reviewing nominations, the Milken Family Foundation makes final selections. According to mff.org, “the Milken Educator Awards have been instrumental in communicating to parents and policymakers the proven fact that the quality of the teacher in the classroom is the most important school-based factor in determining student achievement."

McKenna graduated from SAGU in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. She credits SAGU for teaching her how to minister as an professional educator. After being presented with the award, she made an impromptu speech about her gratitude for God’s provision in her life.

One of her mentors during college was SAGU professor Amy Alexander. McKenna says, “She genuinely took an interest in her students; she loved her students like they were her children. She poured her passion and love into teaching and it was evident every time she spoke. After being a student in Dr. Alexander’s classes, I decided that I wanted to inspire and motivate students like she did.”

For more information on the Milken Educator Award and the Milken Family Foundation, visit www.mff.org.

Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) is a private, Christian university located 30 minutes south of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex in Waxahachie, Texas. The University was established in 1927, and now offers more than 60 associate, bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus or online. More information is available at www.sagu.edu or by calling 1-888-YES-SAGU.

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