School & District Management

Nevada Charter School Principal Wins ‘Oscars Of Teaching’ Award

By Denisa R. Superville — December 20, 2018 1 min read

A Nevada charter school principal whose attention to data turned around math and reading scores in her school is one of the newest winners of the Milken Educator Award.

Wendy Shirey got the surprise news at an assembly at her school, Pinecrest Academy Horizon, in Henderson, Nev., on Wednesday. Shirey leads the state’s top-performing charter school.

The Milken Educator Award, known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” comes with a $25,000 cash prize that educators can spend how they wish.

In October, Washington, D.C., principal Rachel Tommelleo was also honored with the award, which is given to early-to-mid-career educators.

Shirey, who started at Pinecrest Academy Horizon in 2015, is the only Nevada educator to win the award in the 2018-19 school year. The Milken Family Foundation honors 40 educators annually.

The foundation cited Shirey’s work digging into data to get behind the slump in fifth-grade English and math scores. That focus—along with weekly grade-level professional learning communities and changes to staffing and teaching methods—led to a 12 percent increase in English language arts scores and 4.5 percent increase in math scores at the elementary school level in the 2017-18 school year. At the middle school level, scores jumped by 23 and 16 percent, respectively, in ELA and math, the foundation said.

Photo caption: Wendy Shirey, principal of Pinecrest Academy Horizon, was awarded a $25,000 Milken Educator Award on December 19, 2018. The award is known as the “Oscars of Teaching.” Photo and video courtesy Milken Family Foundation.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.