The principal of Osbourn Park High School received a surprise gift of $25,000 Tuesday morning for his stellar work as an educator, awarded before hundreds of students who crowded gymnasium bleachers.
Neil A. Beech didn’t even know he had been nominated for the Milken Educator Award — called the “Oscars of teaching”by Teacher Magazine — until the presentation today by Patricia I. Wright, the superintendent of Virginia schools.
Ambushing recipients with good news at schoolwide assemblies has long been a hallmark of the national awards program, which is sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation. More than 2,500 teachers across the country have received Milken Educator Awards since the program’s inception in the 1980s.
Beech is a native Brit who has worked in Prince William County schools since 2001, first as a biology teacher and later as an assistant principal. He has been principal of Osbourn Park since 2010.
He is credited with developing a virtual earth sciences course for Prince William students and with helping raise the achievement of students with disabilities.
“Neil Beech is an instructional leader who brings out the best in his students and teachers,” Wright said in a statement. “He is a pioneer in the areas of virtual instruction and teacher training; he has left his mark on every school where he has taught or led.”
Congratulations, Mr. Beech!