Lukas Hefty surprised with $25,000 for student-focused STEM program
IN PHOTO, L-R: Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President of the Milken Educator Awards; Lukas Hefty; Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego; Jamerson Elementary Principal Brandie Williams-Macon; FDOE Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Dr. Brian Dassler.
Today, Lukas Hefty, the math and science magnet coordinator at Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School in Pinellas County, was honored by the Milken Family Foundation during a surprise assembly for his work in developing the school’s nationally recognized STEM curriculum. Hefty joins an elite group of educators as one of only 35 nationwide to receive this year’s award.
“Today, there are more jobs than ever in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and that trend is expected to continue,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “By engaging students as early as kindergarten in the school’s STEM activities and inviting families to join in the fun, Mr. Hefty is helping young learners establish a solid foundation that will benefit them as they continue their education and eventually enter the workforce. I am pleased to recognize him for his dedication to education, and I look forward to learning about the great things his students are bound to accomplish as a result of his efforts.”
The Milken Family Foundation is celebrating 30 years of surprising teachers. Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator, made today’s announcement at Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Elementary School.
“Having talented, passionate educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is paramount to preparing students for the challenges of a fast-paced global economy,” said Dr. Foley. “Lukas Hefty draws students into the excitement of these fields and carefully guides them to reach their maximum potential. He is also a valued resource to colleagues by synthesizing complex material, sharing best practices and modeling techniques. Lukas truly personifies the Milken Educator Awards motto, ‘The future belongs to the educated.’”
Hefty has been an educator for 11 years and was instrumental in writing and developing a unique integrated math and engineering curriculum, which led to the school becoming the 2015 Top Elementary STEM School in the Nation. He regularly facilitates lesson study opportunities and models best practices for instructional improvements for grade level teachers as well as provides training in mathematics and science to help parents gain a better understanding of the curriculum in which their children are engaged. Hefty is National Board Certified and holds a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a focus on Mathematics and Science.
“Jamerson Elementary School’s success is built on the dedication of its educators, and Mr. Lukas Hefty exemplifies this commitment through his leadership, creativity and insatiable passion for teaching,” said Pinellas Superintendent Dr. Michael Grego. “The engineering and mathematics program has become a nationally recognized model, and Mr. Hefty’s keen vision for what excellence should look like has helped shape the program’s growing success. Our students are fortunate to have him in Pinellas County.”
Described as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Awards provide recognition and unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists who are furthering education excellence.
New recipients are invited to join the Milken Educator Network, a nationwide group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education. Florida has had 41 educators recognized with the Milken Award since 1998.
In addition to participation in the Milken Educator Network, 2016-17 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum, March 23-25, in New Orleans. Educators will have the opportunity to network with their new colleagues and hear from state and federal officials about the importance of maximizing their leadership roles to advance educator effectiveness.
For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit Milken.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.