Cleveland: Bilingual math teacher Lisa Suárez-Caraballo along with staff and students were surprised on Oct. 26 when they went to an assembly at Luis Muñoz Marín School, called by its principal, Jamie Lawrence.
There, Ohio Education Department Associate Superintendent Dr. Marilyn Troyer surprised Ms. Suárez-Caraballo with the National Educator Award from the Milken Family Foundation, recognizing her teaching achievements.
Suarez-Caraballo was one of three teachers from Ohio to be presented this year with this prestigious award.
The Milken Family Foundation, based in California, goes nationally rewarding some of
the best teachers in the United States during National Notifications Oct. 24 – Nov. 4.
Dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine, the Milken Awards were created by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken in 1985 to celebrate, elevate, and activate the highest caliber professionals in our nation’s schools.
From Oct. 24 – Nov. 4, up to 100 unsuspecting secondary teachers, principals, and specialists throughout the U.S. were surprised with the news of their $25,000 awards, which can be used any way they choose, during emotional, schoolwide assemblies attended by federal, state and local officials, students, peers, and community leaders.
According to the Foundation, the single most important school-based factor impacting student achievement is having a talented teacher in the classroom. The difference between an effective and ineffective teacher can be a full grade level of student achievement in a single year.
Recipients are presented with their unrestricted $25,000 award checks at the annual Milken National Education Conference, an all-expenses-paid professional development conference held in Washington, D.C.
According to the Foundation, dedicated to preparing her students for careers in the 21st Century, “eighth-grade math teacher Lisa Suarez-Caraballo incorporates cutting-edge technology in her lessons and motivates through innovative practices.”
To present fractal geometry, Ms. Suárez-Caraballo worked with Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to initiate a middle school competition. So that other schools in the district could participate, she conducted professional development sessions for all of the teachers. Each year a crowd of approximately 700 attend the competition reception.
She has also participated in the annual Bilingual and Multicultural Education Conference for the past 11 years, presented various mathematics workshops, served as a NASA Educator Astronaut Teacher in 2004, and is a District mathematics mentor.
Ms. Suarez-Caraballo’s concern for her students’ education extends even beyond their graduation from the eighth grade. When she saw a need for some kind of intervention at the high school level, she decided to give up her lunch hour twice a week and drive to the high school (Lincoln-West) to spend time with her former students, helping the majority of them maintain or raise their math scores.
According to the Foundation, “with this level of commitment, it’s easy to see how this National Board Certified teacher inspires academic excellence.”