Aga Cook wears many important hats at Camp Mohave Elementary School. Serving as a fifth grade general education teacher, K-8 curriculum coordinator and data coach, Cook’s dedication to education contributes to positive, schoolwide performance year after year. Today, Cook’s dedication earned her another new title: a national Milken Educator.

At an all-school assembly, students, colleagues, dignitaries and media were abuzz with anticipation when Arizona Deputy Superintendent Margaret Dugan introduced a special guest to represent the Milken Family Foundation: National Institute for Excellence in Teaching Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joshua Barnett. The assembly quickly became a celebration for Cook, who could not believe her eyes when Dr. Barnett presented her with the prestigious Milken Educator Award — accompanied by an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. Cook is the first recipient in the Mohave Valley Elementary School District since the Awards’ creation in 1987.

“The time, energy and passion Aga Cook puts into education every day is truly commendable,” said Dr. Barnett. “Every lesson Aga delivers is creative, relevant, and strongly aligned to the standards and abilities students need to master to be successful in school and life. This year, Aga’s added roles and responsibilities at the district have allowed her to broaden her impact across her school, district, and community. The Milken Educator Network will provide a national platform to continue to elevate her practice and influence on the profession today. Congratulations, Aga.”

Cook is the second and final Arizona Milken Educator recipient this 2023-24 season. She joins Ashley Meyer, who received her Award yesterday, Dec. 7, at Horizon Honors Elementary School in Phoenix. Both Cook and Meyer are among up to 75 recipients across the country who will be honored as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s historic, nationwide tour reaching the presentation of the 3,000th Milken Educator in 2024.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne stated, “Aga Cook is an outstanding educator who helps drive the success of her students both in her role as a fifth-grade teacher and as a district-level K-8 curriculum coordinator and data coach. Aga remains committed to meeting the needs of each one of her students while also leading fellow faculty in gathering, reporting, and utilizing data to inform the instructional process.”

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” 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.

Milken Educator Award recipients are completely unaware of their candidacy for the Award. Recipients cannot apply; they 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.