Cagney Weaver, a Biloxi native and University of Southern Mississippi alumna, is the first Biloxi School District teacher to be recognized with the prestigious Milken Educator Award. Only 40 teachers across the United States receive the Milken Award annually.
“For me to be one of the 40 award recipients is a testament that what (we) do as teachers truly matters,” said Weaver, a 2009 Southern Miss graduate and fourth grade teacher at North Bay Elementary School.
Weaver also serves as a teacher consultant with the Live Oak Writing Project at Southern Miss Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
Milken Award winners receive $25,000 to spend any way they choose. However, Weaver said the most gratifying aspect of capturing the award has been the congratulatory e-mails and phone calls from family, friends and colleagues.
“Regardless of any monetary reward, purely the fact that people notice what I do and that they value what I do makes a huge difference,” Weaver said. “A great deal of the time, you may receive a ‘thank you' here and there, but for that ‘thank you' to be on such a grand scale is nothing short of astounding.”
In addition to the monetary award, Weaver was invited to become a fellow at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes in June.
“The most rewarding part of being a teacher for me is the amazing sense of community that I can create within my students,” Weaver said. “I have the ability to make these students into the next great president, scientist or activist. Seeing them care for one another and for others is truly humbling and admirable.”
The Milken Educator Awards, beginning in 1987, was created by the Milken Family Foundation to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession.