Olentangy Shanahan Middle School math teacher Marissa McCarthy has been awarded the Milken Educator Award. McCarthy, a sixth grade turned eighth grade math teacher, is the first Olentangy Local School District teacher to receive this national honor since the Award’s creation in 1987. Described by her colleagues as innovative, the Milken Family Foundation recognized McCarthy for utilizing unique project-based learning experiences across the curriculum. In addition to the national honor, McCarthy's award also includes a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize.
“This is a tremendous honor, and not at all how I expected today to go!” remarked McCarthy immediately following the surprise award assembly this afternoon. “Shanahan is the best school, with the best students and staff. This is a lot to process, and I am still at a loss for words.”
Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher and Ohio Department of Education and Workforce Interim Director Jessica Voltolini joined the Shanahan Middle School and Olentangy community at the surprise assembly, presenting McCarthy with the prestigious honor before enthusiastic students, colleagues, dignitaries and media. Bestowed by the Milken Family Foundation, the Award recognizes outstanding K-12 educators for their excellence and leadership in the profession.
“Marissa McCarthy expertly demonstrates how data-driven, project-based instruction benefits learners at every level,” said Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher. “Her ability to address individual needs to achieve growth in the classroom and beyond makes her a wonderful addition to the Milken Educator Network. Congratulations, Marissa. I am excited to see where you ‘grow’ from here.”
Hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching," the Awards will honor up to 75 recipients across the country in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. 2023-24 will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall, empowering recipients to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career.
“During my thirty-two years in education, I have worked with a multitude of educators with varying levels of skill and professionalism. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to work with a teacher such as Marissa McCarthy, who I would consider to be truly exceptional,” Shanahan Middle School Principal Steven Tartt remarked. “She is a content expert and a consummate professional who forms meaningful relationships with students, while consistently getting them to perform above expectations. She does an incredible job of engaging her students in real-life lessons that challenge their thinking and get them to grow as both problem solvers and as people. In addition to serving as an eighth-grade math teacher, Marissa is also the school’s technology co-chairperson and serves as a member of the Building Leadership Team. She is a true team player and a tremendous asset to the students and staff at Shanahan Middle School.”
"Olentangy Schools is a top-performing district because of the people that make our schools a special place to learn,” added Olentangy Schools Superintendent Todd R. Meyer. “We are incredibly proud of Marissa McCarthy, an exemplary teacher who gives her whole heart to the profession. Congratulations Marissa on this incredible honor.”
The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients are sought out while early to mid-career for what they have achieved – and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities afforded by the Award. McCarthy is one of two Ohio recipients for the 2023-24 season.