Milken Family Foundation

News Release - Principal Michael Johnson wins Milken Family Foundation Award

Principal of Glennallen Elementary School

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson of Glennallen has received the 2008 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award for Alaska.

Johnson, principal of two schools and Curriculum Director for the Copper River School District, was notified of the $25,000 award in a surprise ceremony October 17 attended by Alaska Education Commissioner Larry LeDoux, Copper River Superintendent Jim Elliott, and the staffs and students of Glennallen Elementary School.

Blue ribbon committees in each of 47 participating states recommend candidates to the Milken Family Foundation. Awardees are selected for exceptional educational talent, outstanding accomplishment, and an engaging and inspiring presence.

“It was a great pleasure to present the Milken Family Foundation’s award to Principal Johnson,” Commissioner LeDoux said. “It is obvious that Mr. Johnson is well-loved by his community, and his passion for children and education shines through.”

Johnson began his education career as an instructional aide in a Copper River school and went back to school to receive his teaching certificate. He taught fourth grade at Glennallen Elementary and later was promoted to the principalship.

His recommendation for the award cited Johnson as being very involved with Native students, opening his home to them, and he has been recognized by the local Native community.

"Michael Johnson is a truly remarkable educator, a real goal-oriented, master team-builder who is totally committed to providing an exceptional teaching and learning environment for teachers and their students," said Dr. Elliott.

“Since receiving the Milken Family Foundation Educator Award on Friday, I’ve been trying to determine if I am embarrassed to the point of humility…or humbled to the point of embarrassment. Either way, I am humbled,” Johnson said. “I don’t in any way accept the award with a sense of self-accomplishment or achievement. I can only receive the award as an opportunity to tell many others about Glennallen Schools, the Copper River School District, and the many wonderful educators that serve in Alaska. I’m sure it will be very apparent how blessed I am to work in our great state.”

The Copper River School District can be reached at 907-822-3234. The Milken Family Foundation can be reached at