Lowell Milken Center Scholarship Holders: May 20-25 June June

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Seated, from left: Sarah Compton, Samantha Neill, Tami Lunsford, Carly Bowden. Standing: Shalisha Thomas, Rachel Pruitt, Jeremy Frazier, Dan Helberg, Jackson Tough, Allyson Turvey, Jennifer Wilson, and Kim Greer. Photo by Kenny Felt.

The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes at Fort Scott, an international not-for-profit educational organization, has awarded its prestigious grant to eight educators who will be at the Lowell Milken Center June 20-25.

The LMC Scholarship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in imparting respect and understanding through project-based learning, or who have the potential to be honored. The center selects exemplary teachers from across America and around the world from a variety of disciplines to collaborate on projects that discover, develop, and convey the stories of unsung heroes in history.

Carly Bowden has been a middle school math teacher at Andover Central Middle School in Andover, Kansas for 6 years and was a Kansas Milken Educator in 2019. Next year she will be teaching math at the Oregon Trail Middle School in Olathe. Carly teaches her students by creating learning experiences to bring math to life. Linking math concepts with local businesses and charities allows their students to develop empathy and improve their mastery of math concepts at the same time. Carly is known for having positive relationships with her students and for connecting with students whose relationship with math needs to be strengthened.

Carly has been involved in the Voya STEM Fellowship since 2017. In 2019, Carly joined the Understood Teacher Fellowship, which helps provide resources for educators and families for students with learning disparities. Outside of school, she is busy training athletics, racing her family in street races, and running a small earring business.

Sarah Compton has taught at Northside Elementary, a K-5 school in Monroe, Wisconsin, for 14 years. In addition to serving as a fifth grade teacher, Sarah has held a variety of additional roles including mentoring new teachers, being a gifted and talented coordinator, and facilitating career development. Sarah is known for creating project-based learning opportunities for her students. Students in their class were challenged to create public service announcements, role-play on a Congressional task force, and invest in a stock market simulation. Sarah takes pride in building strong relationships with her students. With these connections and Sarah’s focus on data-driven teaching, her students experience significant academic growth each year.

In 2012, Sarah received the Monroe Crystal Apple Achievement Award. In 2018 Sarah had the honor of becoming a Milken Educator. Sarah now serves on the Wisconsin DPI Teacher Leader Network, connecting current educators with the State Superintendent’s Office. She is a mentor and moderator at the Teachers of Promise Institute.

Kim Greer has been teaching social studies at Nevada Middle School in Nevada, Missouri for 17 years. Kim is currently a sponsor of the 6th grade girls’ club, Girl EmPOWERment, and a co-sponsor of the NMS Honors Club. She is a department head and an active member of the Community Teachers’ Association and Professional Development Committee.

Kim was a 2017 Fellow for the Korean War Digital History Project, where she helped develop an online textbook and did veteran interviews. As a Life Guard Teacher Fellow at Mount Vernon in 2018-19, she researched and developed lesson plans for the Mount Vernon website. Kim also served as a Teacher Facilitator at the George Washington Teacher Institute on Martha Washington and Women of the 18th Century in 2019 and was named an American Revolution Master Teacher in 2020. She will spend a week in Monticello as an MTI / Barringer Fellow in July 2021.

Dan Helberg has worked in education in the states of Nebraska and North Carolina for the past 19 years. Dan has taught English at various levels and was the principal of Adams Middle School in North Platte, NE for three years. Upon returning to the classroom, he taught 7-12 English at Ansley Public Schools in Ansley, NE and also coaches the speech team.

In 2013, Dan received a scholarship from the Fund for Teachers and toured Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic while researching Jewish culture and the Holocaust. In 2014 he attended the Belfer Conference at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Dan lives in the Nebraska Sandhills, where he runs ranches with his family and enjoys the peaceful prairie setting. He’s from Ansley, Nebraska.

Fort Scott City Director Jeremy Frazier welcomes the Lowell Milken Fellows to the community. Photo by Kenny Felt.

Tami Lunsford has taught at various levels including high school, community college, university and teacher training for the last 20 years. Her first teaching career was at the University Laboratory School of the University of Hawaii, where she taught at high school level and worked with colleagues to combine science with indigenous Hawaiian cultural and historical practices.

She has continued to combine science and real world applications with cultural relevance. In 2012 she found her academic home at Newark Charter School and helped open and develop a new high school as an extension of an incredibly successful K-8 school. She has worked with her team of teachers to develop and expand science curricula, align them with next-generation science standards, and deliver challenging and sophisticated content at various levels.

Tami teaches Honors Biology, AP Biology, and Marine Science on both elective and dual levels. Your marine science course is fully project-based learning and focuses on five big problems our oceans are facing today. In addition, she supports professional development in deep sea exploration for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2017 she became the first milk educator in the state of Delaware. She was the Mid Atlantic Marine Education Association’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year, won a regional Air Force award for STEM education, and served regionally and nationally with the National Marine Educators’ Association. Tami is dedicated to helping her students find and use their voice and gifts to make the world a better place. . .whatever that means to you. She is from Newark, Delaware.

Samantha Neill has been teaching English language arts and journalism at Bühler High School in Bühler USD 313 for 18 years. Although she has been an ELA teacher for many years, she recently took a leap of faith and started teaching journalism and photography. She works to create opportunities that strengthen Schoolchildren to apply the skills learned in real-life situations and to build connections with influential adults and companies in their communities. More than anything, Samantha believes teachers need to reach out to the whole child, both socially and emotionally, rather than just delivering content. This belief inspired her to set up the BHS Clothing Closet and BHS Food Bank to meet the needs of the students in her school for clothing, food and toiletries.


In 2018, Samantha was named Kansas Teacher of the Year. The Kansas Teacher of the Year Award recognizes and uses agents for excellent teaching in elementary and secondary schools across the state of Kansas. She has since led district-wide professional development to trauma-informed schools and classrooms. She was also a member of the Kansas Continuous Learning Task Force, which was creating guidelines for 300 local school districts when the state of Kansas switched to distance learning due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Outside of school, she is the wife and mother of three boys, a keen baseball mom, a member of the Bühler Community Foundation and an inexperienced photographer. She is a foster mother who works for foster families and adoption in her community.

Shalisha Thomas was the 2019 Arkansas Milken Educator. She has taught in the Pine Bluff School District for 9 years. She is currently the senior arts teacher and art club sponsor at Pine Bluff High School (PBHS). Shalisha graduated from PBHS in 2002. Teaching students from the same community in which she grew up is a privilege she does not take lightly.

She works diligently to help her students solve problems and develop an understanding of art. Shalisha also incorporates content from other subjects into her classes to help her students make connections across the curriculum. She realizes that exhibiting art is an important part of the artistic process. Consequently, she encourages her students to share her art with others by participating in an art exhibition specially designed for PBHS students at the Arts & Science Center, a local art and science museum.

Jennifer Wilson has taught at North East High School in North East, Pennsylvania for 25 years. She teaches American History, Advanced Placement European History, Contemporary Issues, and Ethnic Conflict, an elective that she created. She is the chair of the social studies department, a member of the Academic Letter Committee and has held various class consultations over the years. Jennifer, her students, and a colleague created To inspire, a group that promotes a positive school atmosphere through various activities. The group created a school-wide code of ethics and set up food collections, random friendliness campaigns, art competitions, and many other activities.

Throughout her career, Jennifer has been on a mission to incorporate Holocaust and Genocide studies into her curriculum and district. In 2013 she became a Museum Teacher Fellow of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and worked with the Jewish Community Council of Erie, PA and local universities to train educators. Jennifer recently completed her Masters in Holocaust and Genocide Studies from Gratz College and won the Samuel and Bessie Starr Memorial Prize. Funded by JCC Erie, she traveled to Poland, the Czech Republic and France on a “Holocaust in Europe” tour in summer 2019. She spoke in 2019 at the conference of the National Council for Social Sciences and presented the revised curriculum for her course Ethnic Conflicts on the “forces of division” in human society that often lead to conflict. In her classes, Jennifer emphasizes the complexity of the story by considering different viewpoints, using a range of resources, and emphasizing the importance of context. Jennifer recently worked on a guide for educators for. cooperated Sidonia’s thread, an online exhibition about the Holocaust survivor Sidonia Perlstein. Outside of school, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, including her 25-year-old husband and their two children, ages 19 and 17. She is from North East, Pennsylvania.

During their stay at Fort Scott, LMC Fellows gain knowledge, educational resources, and ongoing support to improve their classrooms and help students develop a passion for learning by developing projects that create positive change. The scholars are ready to develop Unsung Heroes projects with their students by applying and evaluating the stories of role models who have changed the world throughout history.



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