Visiting dignitaries congratulate Milken Educator Award recipient Kimberly Alexander Carlo, '15, M.S.Ed.’16. From left, Lewiston-Porter Central School District Superintendent Paul Casseri; Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher; recipient Kimberly Alexander Carlo; New York State Education Commissioner Dr. Betty A. Rosa; and Lewiston-Porter Middle School Principal Andrew M. Auer. Photo courtesy of Milken Family Foundation.

The Youngstown, N.Y., science teacher was surprised with first-ever Milken Educator Award in Lewiston-Porter Central School District

Kimberly Alexander Carlo, ’15, M.S.Ed.’17, a seventh grade science teacher in the Lewiston-Porter Central School District, was selected for the prestigious national Milken Educator Award, hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching." She is the first educator in the district to have received this honor, which recognizes outstanding K-12 educators nationwide for their excellence and leadership in the profession and provides recipients with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize to match the significance of their job.

Alexander Carlo accepted the award from Greg Gallagher, Milken Educator Awards senior program director, and Dr. Betty A. Rosa, New York State education commissioner.

"Kimberly Alexander Carlo's lifelong love of learning is inspiring the next generation of young scientists," said Gallagher. "Her breadth of knowledge, contributions to the profession at large, and commitment to both professional and personal growth make her a deserving recipient of this award.”

Alexander Carlo is the sole New York Milken Educator Award recipient this season and is one of up to 75 recipients across the country that will be honored in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation's Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. The Niagara University honors program graduate earned her bachelor's degree in biology with a coordinate in environmental studies in 2015 and her master's degree in middle childhood and adolescent education in 2017.

“Kim was an amazing student, both in the classroom and in my research lab,” said Dr. William Edwards, professor of biology at Niagara, who was her honors thesis advisor. “We worked on small boats offshore of Buffalo in eastern Lake Erie and in western Lake Erie. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the chemistry, physics, and ecology caused by near-bed mixing above zebra mussels. She was excellent as a scientist, excellent in the classroom, but especially an excellent member of our Niagara community. She chose to go into middle school teaching to make a difference for the next generation of scientists in our community. Given our experiences with her at NU, we are amazed and excited, but not surprised, that she won the Milken Award, the 'Oscars' of K-12 education.”

"Kimberly was one of the standout students of my career," said Dr. Michael Barnwell, director of the NU honors program. "I still use some of her papers as samples for my classes, and her honors thesis project stands out as one of the most unique and impressive projects ever conducted in the program. I still use her project (and a picture of her with the water sampler she built on Lake Erie) as an example to describe what is possible for honors students to achieve."

Board of Regents Chancellor Dr. Lester W. Young Jr. said, "I am thrilled to extend congratulations to Kimberly Alexander Carlo on being awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award. Mrs. Alexander Carlo has demonstrated exceptional dedication, innovation, and impact on her school community. She exemplifies the transformative power of dedicated teachers who light the way for students from all walks of life, and her impact extends far beyond the classroom, shaping the trajectory of countless lives and inspiring a generation to reach for their highest potential. Today, we celebrate Mrs. Alexander Carlo and thank her for her commitment to New York's students."

"At the New York State Education Department, our mission is to inspire and ignite meaningful teaching and learning, and today we look to Kimberly Alexander Carlo as the embodiment of this mission," said Dr. Rosa. "Mrs. Alexander Carlo's dedication, innovation, and passion for education are an inspiration for her students and colleagues alike. This recognition is a testament to her exceptional contributions to the field of education and to her commitment to the educational community where her own educational journey began. Congratulations Kimberly, and thank you to the Milken Family Foundation for bestowing this award to one of New York's world-class educators."

Alexander Carlo was completely unaware of her candidacy for the award. 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.

More About Kimberly Alexander Carlo

All-around exciting instruction: Curiosity is always brewing at Lewiston-Porter Middle School, where Kimberly Alexander Carlo's seventh grade science students are constantly immersed in exciting, collaborative hands-on experiments. Effectively weaving Next Generation Science Standards and Argument-Driven Inquiry labs into curriculum, students explore the world of science up close and personal by developing, assessing and adjusting their own hypotheses using evidence from experiments with self-made cars, batteries, copper wiring, and more. Alexander Carlo often utilizes practices from the Institute for Habits of Mind to guide students through their daily lessons. Dedicated to providing differentiated instruction, Alexander Carlo accommodates students’ individual needs and recommends those who excel for an advanced eighth grade earth science course the next year. 

Incorporating Invigorating Initiatives: Alexander Carlo helped establish a CREW program at Lew-Port, a daily social and emotional learning (SEL) block built into students' schedules. As a member of the CREW committee, she contributes to curriculum integrating SEL practices, state benchmarks and Habits of Mind. Alexander Carlo also serves as a middle school liaison for the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee, as well as a member of the restorative practices committee, and assists in providing professional development for her colleagues. Working to further her own knowledge, Alexander Carlo is a member of the American Educational Research Association, as well as the New York State Master Teacher Program and Science Teachers Association. She has presented at a statewide conference on research-supported instructional practices and has participated in guest speaking opportunities and panel presentations at Niagara University, her alma mater. Additionally, Alexander Carlo has shared her research and insights on instruction in published articles and co-authoring a book.

Shining as a Local Leader: As valedictorian of the Lewiston-Porter High School class of 2011, Alexander Carlo now works alongside many of the teachers who mentored her over the years. She is dedicated to schoolwide student success, maintaining strong relationships with families and leading parent teacher conferences. Alexander Carlo is a peer coordinator for the sixth through eighth grade science department and provides students with upper-level high school class tutoring. She helped students form the "Lancer Peacekeepers" club, intended for Lew-Port bullying prevention. During the summers, Alexander Carlo works at a summer camp she once attended.

More about the Milken Educator Award Journey: "The Future Belongs to the Educated"

  • The honorees attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in June 2024, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to broaden their impact on K-12 education.
  • Honorees receive powerful mentorship opportunities for expanded leadership roles that strengthen education practice and policy. Milken Friends Forever (MFF) pairs a new recipient with a veteran Milken Educator mentor; the Expanding MFF Resource and Explorer Program fosters individual veteran Milken Educator partnerships around a specific topic area; and Activating Milken Educators (AME) promotes group collaboration in and across states to tackle pressing educational needs.
  • Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels.
  • The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. Some recipients have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children. 

About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. Created by Lowell Milken, 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. The Milken Family Foundation celebrates more than 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at MFF.org.