ALAMOSA – Dedicated to inspiring young minds, Adams State University alumnus Dale Adamson received the prestigious Milken Educator Award. “It is a tremendous honor.”
Adamson is committed to his profession, as are many teachers. “It is all very humbling. I really feel like I have accepted this award on behalf of all the amazing teachers around the country that pour their heart into educating our children.”
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart and Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley named Adamson a 2017-18 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Adamson is among the 44 honorees for 2017-18.
“To me, one of the coolest parts of the award was the outpouring of support from current and former students and parents,” Adamson said. “To get letters from former students who are now contemplating their own careers, to have been able to play a role in their lives, it is so much more than you could ever hope for when you become a teacher.”
STEM Coordinator and eighth grade team leader, Adamson believes middle school is a critical age for the development of lifelong interests. “At the middle school level, I believe I have the best chance to introduce a new generation of students to the wonders of math and science and promote a lifelong interest in STEM related fields. In many ways, I like to think that I am helping to find the next generation of engineers, doctors, coders, and thinkers.”
In his sixth year teaching full-time at Howard D. McMillan Middle School in Miami, FL, Adamson teaches algebra and STEM Research at the middle school level to seventh and eighth graders. The STEM Research course is one he built at the school five years ago and has become a cornerstone of the Engineering/Robotics Magnet.
“Every day is its own reward,” Adamson said. “In my algebra class, I relish the opportunity to show students why mathematics matters to them and how we can apply algebra to the world around them. In STEM, I can allow my students to problem solve and create in ways that are atypical for most middle school classes. The students I work with every single day are my inspiration. They constantly amaze me and keep me on my toes. And I love every minute of it.”
Adamson received his master’s degree through Adams State’s graduate distance degree program in December 2016. He enrolled in the Adams State Teacher Education Department Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction with Endeavor STEM Leadership Certificate.
“As a professional educator it is imperative that I continue to grow and learn to meet the needs of my students,” Adamson said. The Adams State program partnered with NASA Endeavor offered him the chance to complete a master’s uniquely suited to his interests and classroom. “I was provided an opportunity to conduct Action Research and was challenged to move outside of my comfort zone to find innovative ways to engage learners. I believe that Adam’s State has played a very important role in shaping the educator I am today.”
He found the program meaningful and flexible. “As a classroom teacher spending 60 plus hours a week at school, that is exactly what I needed,” Adamson said. “Most of the work can be completed asynchronously, I never had any problem getting the classes I needed to complete the degree.” Because of the flexibility in the program he was able to complete his master’s in 18 months.
About the Milken Educator Awards
The very first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation 30 years ago in 1987. The Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish.
Caption: Milken Educator Award recipient and Adams State University alumnus Dale Adamson inspires his middle school students in STEM and mathematics classes./Photo courtesy of Dale Adamson