Two ATU Graduates Earn Prestigious Milken Award

Andrew Harrison and Ashley Anderson Post 2023
Arkansas Tech University alumni Andrew Harrison (left) and Ashley Anderson Post (right) were named 2023 Milken Educator Award recipients. Photos courtesy Milken Educator Awards.

Arkansas Tech University alumni Andrew Harrison and Ashley Anderson Post were presented with a Milken Educator Award during surprise ceremonies at their respective schools on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Harrison teaches history and social studies and coaches football and track and Mayflower High School. He earned a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree from ATU in 2015.

“I’m humbled, and I couldn’t do this without you guys in the seats,” said Harrison shortly after receiving the award. “My students, my athletes…you guys make coming to work every day possible. When I heard my name announced as a recipient I was floored, numb, shocked and excited.”

Post teaches sixth grade English and language arts at Greenbrier Middle School. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from ATU in 2018.

“Becoming a Milken Educator Award winner has already been the most incredible experience,” said Post. “Mr. Lowell Milken organized a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. Receiving this award is such an indescribable honor because he seeks out teachers that he feels should be celebrated. Unlike other awards, one cannot simply apply to become a member of the Milken Educator Family. He chooses us. His generosity, kindness and encouragement make me feel so incredibly proud to be a hard-working educator. Feeling celebrated as a teacher helps to remind us that we are truly making a difference in so many lives every single day. Mr. Milken attaching $25,000 to this award is the most generous act I have ever experienced, and I do not think I can say thank you enough times to show how grateful I truly am. I am excited to see where this journey takes me because I feel like Mr. Milken just opened doors for me that I never even knew existed.”

As Milken Educator Award winners, Harrison and Post both receive $25,000. Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Arkansas Department of Education Secretary Jacob Oliva visited Mayflower High School and Greenbrier Middle School to present Harrison and Post with their awards during school-wide assemblies.

Harrison is an active participant in Mayflower High School’s instructional leadership team. He meets weekly with colleagues to analyze student data, develop standards-based success criteria and lead professional development. He also leads a professional learning community for physical education, health and social studies teachers and athletic coaches.

Harrison facilitated a virtual statewide social studies educator collaboration this year. The program gave rural educators a network in which to reflect and discuss standard-based successes.

In his role as coach, Harrison has organized volunteer events such as “Pink Out” breast cancer awareness nights, elementary school reading visits and local cemetery clean-ups with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which he also sponsors.

“Sometimes it feels like a job that’s motivated by intrinsic rewards,” said Harrison. “Those extrinsic rewards are not typically there all the time. We know why we do it, but sometimes we don’t know if we feel appreciated by the outside world. What we do is important and valuable. I feel like it’s very important to recognize all teachers who are doing great and making a difference for our youth.”

Post is recognized at Greenbrier Middle School as a leader in providing inclusive teaching strategies that serve special education students. She utilized her RISE (Resilience in Schools and Educators) training to design a sixth grade course that yielded an 86.2 percent proficiency rate on the ACT Aspire exam.

A mentor to first-year teachers, Post serves on her school’s curriculum committee and as a member of its literacy professional learning community. She volunteers additional hours in Greenbrier’s VIP tutoring program after school, provides leadership for professional development workshops, organizes events that ease the transition to middle school for fifth grade students and helps coordinate the Greenbrier Games, an Olympic-style event that helps students overcome test anxiety.

“The elementary education department at Arkansas Tech pours into all students within the program,” said Post. “They provided us opportunities to collaborate with one another and develop applicable strategies for the classroom. Additionally, Arkansas Tech did an incredible job at holding each of us at a high standard that pushed us to become valuable assets to our building teams as we began our career. One of the many great professors at Arkansas Tech, Dr. Debra Murphy, was also my advisor. I will never forget the guidance and opportunities she provided to help me become a leader within my courses and the community. I am proud to come from the education department of Arkansas Tech University.”

Click here to view more photos from Harrison’s ceremony.

Click here to view more photos from Post’s ceremony.