Kimberly Collins, her husband and two daughters, with Virginia Beach Middle School Principal Paige Scherr. 

On May 4th, 2022, Kimberly Collins, AVID teacher and coordinator at Virginia Beach Middle School and Taylor Goodson, third-grade teacher at Coventry Elementary School in Yorktown received the surprise of a lifetime this Teacher Appreciation Week—a $25,000 Milken Educator Award presented by the Milken Family Foundation during a schoolwide assembly with cheering students, colleagues, state and local officials and media. Collins, the school’s first coordinator for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), was awarded for her dedication to fostering critical thinking and self-confidence for students to succeed in their continued careers in school and life.

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Kimberly Collins receiving the $25k check. From Left, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, Stephanie Bishop, Vice President of the Milken Educator Awards,  Virginia Beach Middle School Principal Paige Scherr, recipient Mrs. Collins, and Virginia Beach City Public Schools Chief of Staff Dr. Donald Robertson.

"I can't think of a better way to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week than to honor an outstanding Virginia teacher and join with her colleagues, principal, superintendent, school board members and students in celebrating her success and this wonderful recognition from the Milken Family Foundation," Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said. "Kimberly makes a difference in the lives of her students every day. She epitomizes the selflessness, dedication, creativity and commitment to excellence of all of the Virginia teachers we celebrate and recognize this week."


Taylor Goodson, of Coventry Elementary School, the second recipient that day, was recognized for her innovation in strengthening student literacy and her exceptional ability to inspire, motivate and engage her students.

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Taylor Goodson’s third grade students, proudly showing off her new $25,000 Milken Educator Award check.

"I am thrilled to welcome another Milken Educator from Virginia, as this state holds a special place in my heart," said Stephanie Bishop, vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 2001 Virginia Milken Educator. "Taylor Goodson's dedication to increasing literacy, willingness to assist and mentor students and colleagues, and adaptability to meet student needs are just some of the characteristics that make her a model to follow. We welcome Taylor to our national Milken Educator Network and look forward to her contributions."

Oprah, a longtime education advocate, shared her congratulations to this year's recipients in a video message thanking "the most incredible educators around the country" and acknowledging her deep appreciation for the "tireless work" they do. U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona said Milken Educators "personify excellence in education" and "inspire leadership and motivate students to excel."

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Kimberly Collins and her students.

More About the Milken Educator Awards:

"The future belongs to the educated."

Along with the $25,000 financial prize, recipients join the national Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,800 top teachers, principals and specialists. The network serves as a rich resource for fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others dedicated to excellence in education.

  • In June, the honorees will attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to increase their impact on K-12 education. In addition, they will learn about how to become involved in the Milken Friends Forever (MFFs) mentoring program, in which freshman Milken Educators receive personalized coaching and support from a Milken Educator veteran on ways to elevate their instructional practice and take an active role in educational leadership, policy and practice.
  • Over the years, more than $140 million in funding, including $70 million for the individual cash awards, has been devoted to the overall Milken Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients' careers.
  • Veteran Milken Educators frequently go on to serve in leadership roles at state, national and international levels.
  • "We find you. You don't find us!" Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Awards initiative has no formal nomination or application process. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then reviewed by blue ribbon panels in each state. The most exceptional candidates are recommended for the award, with final selection made by the Milken Family Foundation.
  • The $25,000 cash award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. For instance, some have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children.

For more information, visit or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772.

Both Virginia Beach and York are part of the 21 public school systems in Hampton Roads that own WHRO Public Media.