By WLOX Staff
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Scott Pfaff, a five-year physics teacher at Gulfport High School, is the latest Mississippian to receive a $25,000 unrestricted financial award from the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards-during a surprise notification event Wednesday.
"This is truly an honor, and I know that the Gulfport School District and the State is very proud of Mr. Pfaff," Interim State Superintendent of Education Dr. John W. Jordan said. "We all know that the most important tool in student achievement is having a quality teacher in the classroom and Scott is an excellent example."
The Milken Family Foundation Award was first presented in 1987 and is designed to provide public recognition and a financial reward to teachers, principals and other educators who have a proven record of excellence in education.
"Avoided by most students, physics is a tough science class that challenges the thought processes and critical thinking skills of the best students. In a short period of time, Mr. Pfaff has increased enrollment in his physics classes from 18 to 80. His success stems from his ability to challenge students to think and to create and gain understanding in the fact that students are training for careers that may not even exist yet," Gulfport School District Superintendent Mr. Glen East said.
Pfaff was chosen by a Mississippi Department of Education-appointed blue ribbon committee that identified candidates for evaluation and selection. The selection process is confidential and does not include the submission of nominations or applications.
In addition to the financial award, Pfaff will receive an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the annual Milken Family Foundation National Education Forum in the Spring of 2010. He will also be honored by the Mississippi Board of Education at a future board meeting.
Mississippi has participated in the program since 1991, with a total of 64 state educators receiving $1.6 million from the Milken Family Foundation, a private-non-profit organization.
Nationwide, Milken Family Foundation has given away more than $60 million as part of the awards program.