Therese Shain, a special education teacher with the Special School District of St. Louis County, was named a winner of the prestigious Milken Educator Award during a surprise assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Bayless Elementary in St. Louis. Shain has worked at Bayless Elementary since 2008 and instructs students with a variety of learning needs in grades 3-5.
"To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'The secret in education is respecting the student,'" said Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken. "Therese Shain is living this truth by helping students with challenges craft their own unique and highly effective paths to learning. We are proud to welcome her as a Milken Educator."
Mr. Milken was in attendance on Wednesday to present Shain with the award, which includes an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000. Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson and Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven were also on hand to recognize Shain for her accomplishment.
“Therese is a wonderful addition to Missouri’s family of Milken Educators,” said Vandeven. “Her dedication in the classroom for her students and within her building as a role-model and leader for staff is unparalleled.”
Shain has served special education students in Missouri since 2005, following her graduation from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her career began with Special School District at Westchester Elementary (Kirkwood R-VII school district), where she spent two years before moving to Bernard Campbell Middle School in the Lee’s Summit R-VII school district in August 2007. Shain then returned to the St. Louis area, where she has spent the past 10 years assisting staff and students in the Bayless school district. During that time, she also earned her master’s degree in educational counseling and psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“Mrs. Shain has an impact on the students she serves in her classroom by holding them accountable and by having high expectations,” said Bayless Elementary principal Aaron Kohler. “Watching the students take control of their learning under Mrs. Shain’s supervision is powerful.”
The Milken Educator Awards are given each year to outstanding K–12 teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. Missouri began participating in the Milken Educator Awards in 1996. Since then, a total of 47 Missouri educators have been honored with the Milken prize. Recipients join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators fostering effective educational leadership.