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Ag Teacher Receives Milken Educator Award

Ag Teacher Receives Milken Educator Award

Jacob Ball, an agriculture teacher at Carter G. Woodson Academy, is the latest Kentucky educator to receive the national Milken Educator Award. The surprise announcement of the honor, which includes a $25,000 cash prize and a red-carpet celebration in Los Angeles next summer, came during a school assembly with students, faculty, and district and community leaders. Ball was stunned as he spoke to the crowd Friday morning and specifically to his students. “You guys are why we do this,” he said. “We are fortunate every day to teach you, and we really mean that.”

Interim Kentucky Commissioner of Education Robin Fields Kinney, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, and Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Jane Foley presented the ceremonial check to Ball, who has been at Carter G. Woodson for five years and previously taught at Locust Trace Agriscience Center. “Educators have the responsibility of preparing you for a bright future,” Foley told the students before calling up Ball. “The good teachers, they make a difference.”

This school year, the Milken Family Foundation will salute as many as 75 recipients with this prestigious award, hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching.” “We go all over the country to find the best of the best,” Foley said, noting that teachers cannot apply for the honor. Ball is the seventh Milken selection from Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) since the program began in 1987.

“Mr. Ball is more than just a teacher. He is a true advocate for his students,” Kinney said, praising dedicated teachers as Kentucky’s most valuable educational resource. “When you visit a classroom like Mr. Ball’s, it shows just how much he goes above and beyond what is expected of him in a way that inspires his students to do the same.” Coleman agreed, adding, “Mr. Ball has made an amazing impact.”

Milken Resources

FCPS Archives

FCPS had six Milken Educator Award winners before Jacob Ball:

  • Brooke Powers, in 2017, as a teacher at Beaumont Middle School
  • Nami Stager, 2010, as a teacher at Northern Elementary
  • Virgil Covington, 1999, as principal at Winburn Middle School
  • Cathy Bell, 1998, as principal at Veterans Park Elementary 
  • Rosalind Hurley Richards, 1996, as a teacher at Squires Elementary
  • Donna Bryant-Johnson, 1994, as principal at Booker T. Washington Elementary