Olentangy Shanahan Middle School math teacher Marissa McCarthy has been awarded the Milken Educator Award for her utilization of unique project-based learning experiences across the curriculum. She is the first teacher in the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) to receive the award and was presented the honor, dubbed the “Oscars of teaching,” by the presenters during a surprise assembly at the school on Nov. 30.
In addition to the honor, McCarthy received an individual $25,000 unrestricted award.
The Milken Educator Awards, created by Lowell Milken in 1987, reward “inspired excellence” in the world of education by honoring top educators around the country, according to its website. The awards target early-to-mid-career education professionals for their achievements and promise of what they will accomplish in the future.
“This is a tremendous honor, and not at all how I expected today to go,” McCarthy said during the assembly. “Shanahan is the best school, with the best students and staff. This is a lot to process, and I am still at a loss for words.”
Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher said, “Marissa McCarthy expertly demonstrates how data-driven, project-based instruction benefits learners at every level. Her ability to address individual needs to achieve growth in the classroom and beyond makes her a wonderful addition to the Milken Educator Network.”
As many as 75 recipients countrywide will be recognized as Milken Educator Award winners in the 2023-24 school year as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s push toward honoring the 3,000th Milken Educator Award recipient. This school year, the program will hit the $75 million mark in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall.
“During my 32 years in education, I have worked with a multitude of educators with varying levels of skill and professionalism,” Shanahan Middle School Principal Steven Tartt said during the ceremony. “Occasionally, I have the opportunity to work with a teacher such as Marissa McCarthy, who I would consider to be truly exceptional. She is a content expert and a consummate professional who forms meaningful relationships with students while consistently getting them to perform above expectations. She does an incredible job of engaging her students in real-life lessons that challenge their thinking and get them to grow as both problem solvers and as people.
“In addition to serving as an eighth-grade math teacher, Marissa is the school’s technology co-chairperson and a member of the building leadership team. She is a true team player and a tremendous asset to the students and staff at Shanahan Middle School.”
OLSD Superintendent Todd Meyer added, “Olentangy Schools is a top-performing district because of the people that make our schools a special place to learn. We are incredibly proud of Marissa McCarthy, an exemplary teacher who gives her whole heart to the profession.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.