Milken Family Foundation honors SF teacher


Michael Milken was a junk bond king who went to prison. Surprising was the number of politicians who attended Monday's award ceremony.

Mindy Yip is a first-grade teacher at Visitacion Valley Elementary. Her achievements attracted some of the Bay Area's top politicians as well as policy makers in Washington.

Why? For starters this school is in Speaker Pelosi's congressional district. And, the Milken Educator Awards are given out by a well known philanthropist.

"I don't use the word very often. We are blessed to have here today, the person who brought us all together. Please welcome a great philanthropist, a real visionary, a real leader. Please welcome, Michael Milken," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, welcoming Milken to the stage.

Milken is the co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. He was also associated with junk bonds in the 70s and 80s. He spent nearly two years behind bars for stock fraud.

A request for a pardon has been made to President Bush on his behalf. Pardons are often given to those who have reformed their lives.

But Monday the spotlight was on a young outstanding San Francisco teacher. For her the announcement came as a total surprise.

A blue-ribbon panel in the State's Department of Education recommended Yip because of the creative ways she uses to motivate her students. Her school, located in an underserved neighborhood, has made significant gains in state test scores.

Yip is one of 80 teachers in the United States receiving this award this year with the total cash prize of $2 million.

Yip will get $25,000 of that money.

"I will donate some, half for the school because I believe all of us deserve it," she said.

Three other teachers in California will also be recognized this year.

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