Johnny Key

Commissioner of Education

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Milken Educator Award

Rogers Teacher Named Milken Educator

Science- and technology-savvy teacher Kara Davis couldn't ever have computed her good fortune in advance when she was surprised by a school assembly at Joe Mathias Elementary School in Rogers on Nov. 18 in her honor. That's where the fourth-grade teacher learned she had won a prestigious Milken Educator Award, recognizing her commitment to her students, her colleagues and the community.  
Davis is the newest recipient of the $25,000 cash award, hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching." This 2016-17 season marks the 30th anniversary of the Awards.
Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key joined the Milken Family Foundation (MFF) to bestow the Award upon Davis. Representing MFF was Arkansas 2001 Milken Educator Dr. Gary Stark, who now serves as CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.
"Kara Davis demonstrates why teachers are the most important school-related factor influencing students' academic achievement," said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. "Kara engages her students in real-world learning by incorporating technology and using real-time data as her guide. In turn, students have boosted their test scores and refined their critical thinking skills crucial to succeeding in a global economy. Equally impressive are the relationships that Kara has developed as a mentor to fellow faculty."
"Arkansas's dedicated educators are entrusted with our most precious resource – our children," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. "Ms. Kara Davis serves as a shining example of how integral these educators are to the success of our students. I am delighted that the Milken Family Foundation has recognized the outstanding work and achievements of Ms. Davis, and I am confident that she will continue to have a lasting effect on our students and her fellow teachers for years to come."
"Ms. Davis is a perfect example of excellence in education," Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. "From her focus on STEM activities and exceptional use of technology in the classroom to the leadership she shows among her peers at her school, Ms. Davis is helping transform Arkansas to lead the nation in student-focused education. I congratulate her on her success and this very special honor."
"Kara is an exceptional teacher," Dr. Marlin Berry, Rogers Public Schools superintendent, said. "She helps students achieve through her many skills and teaching tools. She is very hands-on in their learning, incorporates STEM activities throughout the curriculum, utilizes digital formats and involves them through project-based learning. She's more than a team player in the building, as Kara is involved with mentoring and helping others. She helps to make Joe Mathias Elementary a wonderful place for kids."
To see the complete press release, please go to
To learn more about Davis and to view photos and a video from today's Award assembly, visit
Be sure to check out the video that highlights over three decades of surpise award notifications in Arkansas:
Kara Davis attended the 2017 Milken Educator Awards forum in New Orleans. Check out her reaction to the forum and see photos at:
The Milken Family Foundation began the award program in 1987 and has awarded more than $65 million to more than 2,600 top educators across the nation. Arkansas joined the program in 1991. Since then, more than 70 Arkansas educators have been recognized. For more information about the foundation, go to

For more information, please contact:

Meghan Ables, Public Information Manager
Arkansas Department of Education
Office of Communications
Four Capitol Mall, Room 404-A
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone:  501-683-4786

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