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Haslett High School Teacher Receives National Milken Educator Award

November 24, 2015

LANSING – Mr. Kevin Tobe, a 9-12 grade mathematics teacher at Haslett High School in the Haslett Public Schools District, received news today of a $25,000 cash award – no strings attached - during a visit to the school from Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President of the Milken Family Foundation (MFF), and State Superintendent Brian Whiston, as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s National Educator Awards Program.

“Kevin Tobe’s instructional practices are exemplary,” Whiston said. “He engages and inspires his students in ways that not only make learning fun, but allows students to work and succeed at their own pace.”

“His commitment to high expectations, motivational learning and collaboration helps ensure that all of his students will succeed,” Whiston added.

Haslett High School Principal Bart Wegenke said, "Kevin Tobe has a reputation for turning already good math students into great ones. As a senior teacher at Haslett High School, Tobe leads both regular and advanced math classes. He leads as department chairman and is able to teach at the college level while enthusiastically pushing students to excel. Of his 41 students, 34 passed the AP Calculus exam the first time it was offered, while 82 percent received a score of 3 or better. Additionally, 96 percent of his students met growth requirements for 2014-2015.”

Community outreach is important to Tobe. He's active in the local Teachers Leading Teachers program, and helps new teachers acclimate to next-generation tests. Parents praise him as he gets them involved in their kids' education. They describe him as a teacher who is passionate about his work and who wants all students to succeed. Even former students, now in college, sometimes still call him for help with a math problem.

Tobe is one of 40 secondary teachers nationwide this year to receive the Milken National Educator Award, dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine. This year marks 25 years that the Foundation has been recognizing and rewarding the noble profession of teaching through the Milken Educator Awards.

Tobe serves on Haslett’s accreditation committee, as well as on the committee for his district's K-12 Mathematic Standards. He is also the coach for the girl's track team. Tobe holds a 1997 B.A. from Michigan State University, and a 2001 M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, also from MSU.

Research shows that the single most important school-based factor impacting student achievement is having a talented teacher in the classroom. The difference between an effective and ineffective teacher can be a full grade level of student achievement in a single year.

Alternating yearly between elementary and secondary educators, the Milken Awards are sourced through each participating state department of education, which appoints an independent blue ribbon committee to confidentially review candidates for recommendation to MFF.

This year, MFF launched a #MyTeacherRocks Instagram campaign that encourages students to take selfies with their favorite teacher and describe in the caption why their teacher is special. To enter the contest, entrants are asked to follow @MilkenFamilyFdn on Instagram, post their selfie to their individual account and use the #MyTeacherRocks and #MilkenAward hashtags. The three photos with the most “likes” will be selected in February and April 2016. The first winner was selected in November 2015.

To get regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For more information about the Milken Educator Awards, visit or call MFF at (310) 570-4772.

The Milken Educator Awards tour is on social media at; and


The Milken Educator Awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation, were launched in 1987. 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.