Friday, December 13, 2013


A high school teacher in Spirit Lake was awarded the prestigious 2013 Milken Educator Award for Idaho in a surprise assembly Friday morning.

Katie Graupman, an English teacher at Timberlake High School in Spirit Lake, showed up at work Friday just like any other day. At 9 a.m., she went to the gym with her students to participate in a schoolwide assembly to celebrate her school’s excellent academic track record. Or so she thought…

During the assembly, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and Dr. Jane Foley of the Milken Family Foundation unexpectedly announced that Graupman had been named Idaho’s 2013 Milken Educator – and was being awarded $25,000 as part of this prestigious award.

Known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Award was conceived by Lowell Milken to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession. Since 1987, the Milken Family Foundation has devoted more than $136 million in funding to the Milken Educator Awards, including over $64 million in individual Awards to nearly 2,600 recipients plus powerful professional development opportunities and networking with leading education stakeholders.

Graupman is now one of 15 educators in Idaho who have received the prestigious Milken Educator Award since Idaho joined the Milken program in 2003.

“I am proud that Katie Graupman will recognize Idaho as our 2013 Milken Educator. She is praised by her colleagues as an outstanding educator with a strong work ethic who sets high standards to make sure every student masters the knowledge they need before graduating from high school,” Superintendent Luna said. “I also want to thank the Milken Family Foundation for its continued support of Idaho’s educators and educators throughout the country.”

Graupman was selected for this award for her innovation, leadership and ability to raise academic achievement. She has taught for 10 years. At Timberlake High, her students have made great strides academically, increasing their scores on the ISAT and writing assessments each year.

Students gave Graupman a standing ovation as she worked her way to the podium to accept the award Friday morning.

“Thank you for the job I get to do every day,” she told her students. “Thank you for being the reason I get up and come to work every day.”

Superintendent Luna was joined by Idaho State Senator John Goedde, Lakeland Superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Ranells and other dignitaries at the schoolwide assembly today to help recognize and reward Katie Graupman.

About Katie Graupman
Katie Graupman is the English language arts and journalism teacher at Timberlake High School in Spirit Lake. She is a proud graduate of the University of Idaho, and has been teaching for 10 years.

One thing is clear: Mrs. Graupman is beloved by her colleagues. Here are just some of the ways her colleagues described her in nominating her for this award: innovative, a leader, a mentor, courageous. According to her friends and colleagues, if you need something done, you simply ask Mrs. Graupman. She has a great work ethic and her vision is to work until you get the results you are looking for. And she gets results! Last year, 98% of Mrs. Graupman’s students were proficient on the ISAT, up from just 90% last year. Here students also made great progress in writing: 76% of students scored proficient on writing assessments last year and now 92% of students are scoring proficient.

Mrs. Graupman sets very high standards to make sure every student has the knowledge they need to walk across the stage at graduation and be successful.

“If something is good for kids, she is unafraid to change the system, even if the change affects her,” said Dr. Mary Ann Ranells, the Lakeland School District Superintendent.

About the Milken Family Foundation
The Milken Family Foundation was established in 1982 to discover and advance inventive and effective ways of helping people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. The Foundation advances this mission primarily through its work in education and medical research. For more information about the Milken Family Foundation, please visit  

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