- Watertown Middle School
MJM’s Tyler Hallstedt Makes History as First in Wilson County Schools to Receive Milken Educator Award and $25,000 Cash Prize
Mt. Juliet Middle School social studies teacher Tyler Hallstedt is a planner. He creates meticulous lessons for his eighth grade students, always providing backstory to make learning relevant and asking probing questions to broaden their minds. As a professional learning leader, Hallstedt guides fellow teachers on how to prepare for observations and coaching conversations. Yet nothing could have prepared Hallstedt for today’s life-changing moment when he was called up to accept a national Milken Educator Award before cheering students, appreciative colleagues, state and local officials, and media.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn joined Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley to present Hallstedt with the prestigious recognition. The Award includes an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize to be used however he chooses.
Hallstedt is the first Award recipient from Wilson County Schools and among more than 60 across the country who will receive the honor during the 2021-22 season. He will join more than 2,800 educators and leaders that form the national Milken Educator Network dedicated to strengthening K-12 education.
“Engagement and enthusiasm are evident in Tyler Hallstedt’s classroom. Tyler not only brings history to life for his students, but also deepens their understanding as productive citizens,” said Dr. Foley, who herself is a Milken Educator from Indiana’s 1994 class. “His ability to guide higher-order thinking and make connections across the curriculum has served him well as a leader in professional learning at the school and district levels. I congratulate Tyler and welcome him into the national Milken Educator Network of excellence.”
“Tennessee’s educators play a critical role in ensuring students are prepared for life beyond the classroom,” said Governor Lee. “I commend Tyler for the profound impact he’s made on the Wilson County community and congratulate him on this high honor.”
“Parents hope that their student’s teacher can help inspire a love of learning, and in his Mt. Juliet Middle School classroom, Tyler Hallstedt truly brings social studies to life,” said Commissioner Schwinn. "Whether students are writing letters in historical contexts or studying the political process, Mr. Hallstedt has a creative, inspirational and passionate approach to his work that helps him connect with his students and support their learning in a meaningful way. Congratulations to Mr. Tyler Hallstedt for this prestigious recognition of becoming a Milken Educator.”
Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” Milken Educator Awards inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities. The Awards are not designated for lifetime achievement. Recipients are heralded while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities inherent in the Award.
Oprah, a longtime education advocate, shared her congratulations to this year’s recipients in a video message thanking “the most incredible educators around the country” and acknowledging her deep appreciation for the “tireless work” they do.