June 18, 2024
Annapolis, US 81 F

Pasadena Fifth Grade Teacher Surprised with Milken Educator Award and $25,000 Cash Prize!

Image: Milken Family Foundation

It was the surprise of a lifetime for Bodkin Elementary School fifth-grade math teacher Bradley Absher! Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher, joined by Maryland Interim State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carey M. Wright, presented Absher with the Milken Educator Award, a prestigious national honor recognizing exceptional educators for outstanding dedication to excellence in education. The recognition, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize, was bestowed upon Absher in front of cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries, and the media. Absher is the second and final Maryland Milken Educator this 2023-24 season, joining Maggie Arnold of Frederick, who was honored earlier today. 

Video: Milken Family Foundation

“Through creative, hands-on instruction and collaboration, Bradley Absher is providing an unforgettable learning experience for his students,” said Gallagher. “His commitment to ensuring all learners reach their potential is inspiring and makes him an exciting addition to the national Milken Educator Network. Congratulations!” 

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Awards will honor up to 75 nationwide recipients in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. 2023-24 will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall, empowering recipients to “Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate” the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career. 

I just can’t believe it. I just love this school. I love every moment of my job, but it is nice to be recognized for all of the hard work and long hours that we put in. Honestly, the best recognition was to hear the students, even ones that I don’t teach, chanting my name.

Bradley Absher

“Bradley Absher’s dedication to excellence in the classroom is truly commendable. We thank him for going above and beyond by tutoring students after school and being active in the community. I also appreciate his ability to find creative ways to teach math skills and connect mathematics to tangible topics and places children can investigate and learn from through their experiences,” said Dr. Wright. “Great teachers like Bradley have a long-lasting effect on a student’s success and I thank the Milken Family Foundation for recognizing and celebrating great teaching in Maryland.” 

Bradley Absher fosters connection and impactful relationships with his students at Bodkin Elementary School, where he teaches fourth grade math. With a focus on multi-faceted instruction, Absher begins his class each day with a Number Talks warm-up lesson, an instructional technique designed to stimulate mental math skills through intriguing, real-world mathematical puzzles. His classroom is designed in small-group rotations with review stations, technology, games, and centers – all tailored to his students’ individual learning styles and needs. Absher devises creative ways to integrate mathematical principles into everyday experiences, such as multiplying fractions to create a “No Bake Cheesecake,” mapping distances between national parks, and guiding students in crafting artwork to decorate the classroom to reinforce his geometry curriculum. More than half the fifth grade participates in his Genius Hour. The response to Absher’s instruction is paying off: students exceed both student learning objectives(SLOs) and district benchmarks for proficiency and growth. 

Absher’s leadership extends beyond his classroom’s walls, where he mentors not only his own students but also others in the school, offering after-school tutoring and unwavering support to students throughout their academic journeys at Bodkin. Actively involved in the school’s extracurricular activities, Absher spearheads various clubs, including STEM, SeaPerch, Math Mindset, and both the board game and chess clubs. With a commitment to professional growth and personal excellence, Absher participates in the PTA, volunteers at events such as the environmental fair and math nights, leads the math action team, serves on the school improvement and leadership teams, supervises high school interns and student teachers, and leads the process for the county’s Academic Achievement for All (AAA) math grant. 

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