State Board honors Milken Educator Award winner

One of Missouri’s finest teachers was recognized by state leaders Tuesday — Feb. 21 — in Jefferson City.

Eric Cochran, a recent recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award, was honored by the State Board of Education at its monthly meeting. Cochran also was recognized at the State Capitol by legislative leaders in the House and Senate chambers.

Cochran is a social studies teacher at Lindbergh High School, where he teaches Advanced Placement U.S. History and serves as department chair.

Cochran, who was joined by his wife and two young daughters, was commended by the members of the State Board for being one of many excellent teachers working in public schools in Missouri and throughout the nation.

“We express our deep appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments you have made in encouraging your students to achieve at high levels,” State Board President Peter F. Herschend stated in a news release.

Last November, Cochran was surprised with the Milken Educator Award by the Milken Family Foundation at a schoolwide assembly. His colleagues praised his efforts to inspire students and build their confidence to succeed at college-level work. He also was recognized for his work in building strong relationships with students, parents, colleagues and community leaders.

The Milken Award may be presented annually to one, sometimes two, unsuspecting educators in each state. The award comes with a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize and provides public recognition to the recipient for furthering excellence in education. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators.

Over the past 25 years, the California-based Milken Foundation has honored more than 2,500 K-12 teachers, principals and specialists nationwide with more than $63 million in total awards. In 2011, about 40 educators received the award.

Missouri has participated in the Milken Educator Awards program since 1996. A total of 43 Missouri educators in public schools have received the award since that time.