BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – An Upshur County teacher has been honored for his dedication to his students with a ceremony and a monetary award.

On November 7, 2019, the Milken Family Foundation named Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School social studies teacher Brian Allman as its, “Milken Educator of the Year,” for the state of West Virginia.

Whether it’s guest speakers for Holocaust Remembrance Day or a field trip to a Native American burial ground, Allman puts his students in the historical moment and helps them experience it—then shows them how to apply the lessons going forward. It’s working. Buckhannon-Upshur students are thriving in regional and state social studies competitions and applying their enhanced critical thinking skills to all their academic endeavors.

Working as a mentor to new teachers, boosting school technology use and coaching both boys and girls basketball, award presenters said that Allman is clearly all in for Buckhannon-Upshur.

“Mr. Allman is not only an incredible educator, he is an advocate for the teaching profession,” said Upshur County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sara Stankus. “He is always challenging his students to give their best effort, and he expects nothing less of himself. He leads by example and shares his passion for teaching with his students, colleagues and the community.”

Allman has spent his entire 11-year teaching career dedicated to the 6th grade social studies program. He said that he was completely surprised about receiving the award, along with getting a check for $25,000.

“It’s totally overwhelming,” said Allman. “It’s just totally humbling because I know what a great staff we have here at our school, I know how many great teachers there are in this state and to think that I was the one chosen. It’s just amazing but it’s also humbling and overwhelming to be honest.”

Allman said that he may use some of the money toward going back to school and getting his doctorate degree.

Milken Educators are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the $25,000 prize and public recognition, the honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top teachers, principals, and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

More than $140 million in funding, including $70 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients’ careers. Many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and be placed in prominent posts and on state and national education committees.

The Awards alternate yearly between elementary and secondary educators. Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Award is completely unique: Educators cannot apply for this recognition and do not even know they are under consideration.

Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then are reviewed by blue ribbon panels appointed by state departments of education. Those most exceptional are recommended for the Award, with final selection made by the Milken Family Foundation.

The cash award is unrestricted. Past recipients have used the money in diverse ways; for instance, on their children’s or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships and even on the adoption of children.