Moffat County is home to a valued educator. Valued not only by colleagues, but also national foundations.
Moffat County High School (MCHS) Assistant Principal and Activities Director Rob Sanders has been honored by the Milken Family Foundation as a National Educator.
"This is very exciting and I am happy and honored to have received the award," Sanders said.
The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award provides recognition and unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other education professionals who are furthering excellence in education.
"A Milken Family Foundation reward is much more than $25,000," said Janet Steele, director of the Milken Educator Network and a 1994 recipient of the award. "It will change you."
"The whole time she (Steele) was talking after I had received the award, I kept thinking, 'this is the kind of thing that happens to other people you see on the news,'" Sanders said.
"This award is only given to four educators a year (in Colorado)," said Morris Danielson, Colorado Board of Education representative to Northwest Colorado. "It is meant for those continuing contributions toward education. The future is for the educated."
Sanders received his award during the MCHS Homecoming Coronation.
When the Milken Family Foundation arrives to give an award, few people are aware of it. According to Steele, the award is given during assemblies which are meant for other purposes, such as a Homecoming Coronation and having surprised recipients is part of the overall goal.
The overwhelmed Sanders was definitely surprised.
"I am extremely surprised," Sanders said. "It isn't reality yet."
National Notification Week is Oct. 4-8 for Milken Family Educator Award winners. Educators are selected without their knowledge by a panel appointed by their state departments of education.
"As educators we work harder because of things like this," Danielson said.
"Eagles don't fly in flocks, they must be plucked one at a time."
Award winners will attend the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in June of 2000 in Los Angeles. Highlighted by the recognition of the new Milken educators and presentations of their $25,000 awards, the conference is a three-day event featuring educators, policymakers and business leaders all working to improve the state of American education.
Having given $4.3 million in financial support since 1987, the Milken Family Foundation will honor 172 recipients nationwide in 1999.
As surprised as Sanders is, he will continue to help provide an outstanding educational atmosphere at MCHS.
"The money will not change me," Sanders said. "I am content where I am and with what I am doing now."
Sanders, although not knowing how he was recommended for the award, thanked the Milken Family Foundation for honoring him.