The Jewish Educator Award is a project of the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) which established the Award as way to acknowledge the work of outstanding Jewish educators. The Award, founded in 1994, is presented to a select group of Jewish educators each year as a way of honoring them for their professional leadership, their community involvement, their efforts in support of their schools' students and families and, most of all, the high quality of their work as Jewish educators.
Lowell Milken created the Jewish Educator Award as an extension of his philosophy that a Jewish Day School education can encourage a child to develop strong Jewish values, remain faithful to his Jewish heritage and nourish the child's Jewish identity. MFF created the Award to strengthen the Jewish Day School movement while rewarding excellence in teaching. These educators, MFF notes in its overview of the Awards, work to create an exciting and engaging educational experience for Jewish students to make Judaism vibrant and meaningful in their lives.
The Award is determined based on the teacher's classroom performance, relationship with the community and with the school's families and with the community. The Award committee reviews each nominee's leadership skills as it influences the school community and its families as well as the nominee's originality of educational methods.
Recipients of the Jewish Educator's Award include individuals who are engaged in all facets of Jewish education including teachers, administrators and specialists. Since 1994 Lowell Milken and MFF has presented the Award to Jewish professional educators who represent almost 40 Jewish Day Schools nationwide. According to the Award guidelines, the Award recognizes the educator's as "role models deserving of emulation for their intelligence, scholarship, creativity and compassion."
Each year 4 educators are named as Milken Educators. To be nominated the teacher must teach in a school that is affiliated with the local Board of Jewish Education at the K-12 level. The Jewish Educator Awards are distributed to educators who teach in schools representing all streams of Judaism. Each recipient receives $15,000.