Basehor teacher wins Milken educator award
When Basehor-Linwood High School biology teacher Bruce Courtney was called to a school assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 5, he thought it was for a safety assessment meeting.
He said he became suspicious when he saw his wife, Jo Ann, and children, Kelly, 10, and Bobby, 8, enter the gymnasium.
Soon after that, David Pendleton, superintendent, announced that Courtney was one of 172 educators in 41 states and one of four teachers in Kansas, to win the coveted Miliken Award. This is a $25,000 grant given to the educator.
Other Kansans receiving the award were Kevin Burr, a principal at Garden City High School; Marshall Cruce, a teacher at Louisburg High School; and Bruce Graham, a teacher at Bennington High School.
"I was totally shocked and surprised," Courtney said. "I hadn't had any idea that I had been nominated, and I had no idea that the award was at that level."
The award includes an expense-paid trip for Courtney and his wife to attend the recognition ceremony in Los Angeles in June.
Courtney, 39, has been teaching in Basehor for six years. A 1982 graduate of Baker University, Courtney worked as a chemist for Cramer Products, Gardner, for 3 years, and as a park ranger for the Johnson County Parks and Recreation for 10 years before he decided to go back to school to become a teacher.
Courtney said his teaching philosophy is that it's important to be on the students' side.
"You've got to ultimately care about every student that walks into the classroom," he said.