Riley Gartland, a mathematics teacher at Cinnaminson High School; Taylor Trost, a teacher at Norton Rogers Elementary School in Hightstown; and Virginia Fasulo, a science teacher at Lodi High School have been honored as Milken Educator Award winners in a rare instance of three educators from the same state being recognized with the prestigious honor.

The award comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize and honors exceptional educators across the country for their innovation and excellence. All three were notified of the honor in surprise ceremonies at their individual schools.

Gartland found out about the honor at a schoolwide assembly in front of cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries and the media on Oct. 11. She is the first-ever recipient from Cinnaminson Township Public Schools.

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley was joined by New Jersey Department of Education Chief of Staff Julie Bunt to present Gartland with the prestigious honor.

“Riley Gartland’s skill to engage and advance students and colleagues alike makes her a valuable asset to Cinnaminson High School and the entire community,” said Foley, who was recognized with a Milken Award in 1994. “Riley’s steadfast dedication inspires students to meet high expectations and pursue STEM careers, both essential to strengthening our future success as a nation. I welcome her to the Milken educator network and look forward to the impact she will make on teachers and students throughout her career.”

“Congratulations to Riley Gartland, an education trailblazer at Cinnaminson High School, on the achievement of her Milken Educator Award,” said Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan. “Riley seamlessly combines high standards with a nurturing learning environment as she fosters student achievement through real-world math applications. Beyond the classroom, Riley’s leadership shines as she mentors students, leads school activities and enhances colleague collaboration, making her a deserving recipient of the Milken Educator Award.”

Watch a video of Gartland being surprised with her award.

Hightstown Teacher Wins Prestigious Honor

The second teacher from New Jersey to be honored with a Milken Award is Taylor Trost, a fourth-grade teacher at Grace Norton Rogers Elementary School.

Just like Gartland, she was presented the prestigious honor by the Milken Family Foundation in a surprise ceremony.

Foley was joined by New Jersey’s Assistant Commissioner of Education Kathy Ehling to present the award to Trost at a schoolwide assembly in front of cheering students, proud colleagues, dignitaries and the media.

“I am delighted to celebrate Taylor Trost today and welcome her to the Milken Educator Network,” Foley said. “Taylor’s ability to bring lessons to life, her sustained commitment to student growth and her demonstrated, positive leadership in and out of the classroom make her an outstanding representative of our national circle of excellence.”  

Allen-McMillan said, “I congratulate Taylor Trost, an education innovator at Grace Norton Rogers Elementary School, on her Milken Educator Award. Taylor captivates students with engaging, inclusive teaching methods and her creative approach results in impressive achievement gains in reading and mathematics. Taylor’s leadership extends beyond the classroom, fostering mentorship and pioneering remote learning during the pandemic. Her dedication to ongoing communication with parents is a testament to her commitment to student success.” 

Watch a video of Trost being surprised with her award.

Lodi High School Teacher Also Surprised with Award

Fasulo was surprised at a schoolwide assembly in front of cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries and the media Oct. 13 with a Milken Educator Award.

Foley was joined by New Jersey Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Chris Irving to present the award to Fasulo.  

“Virginia Fasulo’s classroom is an exciting hub of discovery for Lodi High School’s future medical professionals. Her expertise from the medical field is reflected in every learning strategy as she consistently ties technical operations to everyday situations,” Foley said. “A heartfelt congratulations to Virginia for personifying the role of teacher, mentor and cheerleader to her students and colleagues every day. Welcome to the national Milken Educator Network!”  

Allen-McMillan said, “Congratulations to Virginia Fasulo, an exceptional educator at Lodi High School, on her Milken Educator Award. Virginia’s passion for the medical profession has ignited remarkable career pathways for her students. With an innovative, hands-on approach, she transforms her classroom into a dynamic learning environment, fostering real-world connections. Virginia’s dedication to her students’ growth is inspiring, leading many to choose careers in health care. Her leadership of clubs and commitment to professional development make Virginia an invaluable asset to her school community.” 

Watch a video of Fasulo being surprised with the award.

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Awards will honor up to 75 recipients across the country this school year as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator.

This season 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.

Learn more about the awards and all the winners.