Eagles Elementary Student Performance Strategist Kimmy Milligan has been named the Fargo Public Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi made the surprise announcement today at her home via a yellow school bus, keeping appropriate social distance. The Eagles Elementary School staff took part in the surprise through a staff meeting via Zoom.
Milligan obtained a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Valley City State University and a bachelor’s degree in Child Development from North Dakota State University. She also earned a master’s degree in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction from St. Catherine’s University. In addition, she holds Reading, Math, and Kindergarten Endorsement Certificates.
Milligan began her teaching career in 2007 as a kindergarten teacher at Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo. In 2009, she joined the Fargo Public Schools as a Reading Recovery Teacher at Horace Mann and Roosevelt Elementary Schools, a position she held for four years. Milligan taught first grade at Centennial Elementary for one year before becoming the Student Performance Strategist and Reading Recovery Teacher at Longfellow Elementary School for two years. She joined Eagles Elementary as a Student Performance Strategist in 2016.
Milligan’s selection as the 2020 Teacher of the Year was based on enthusiastic testimonials from colleagues and administrators that paint a portrait of a teacher who is innovative, positive, committed to improving learning for all students, and a leader among her peers. She is described as inspirational, dedicated, driven, persistent, a role model, a mentor, a tireless advocate for students, and a life-long learner herself. She is praised for personalizing the learning experience for each student, celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion, creating a culture of positivity with students and staff, and bringing innovative solutions to the teaching platform to scaffold student learning.
Kimmy Milligan has led the way in providing access to literacy materials to the teachers at her school building that reflect their student population. She took an innovative approach to combating student anxiety and staff stress, and improving mental and physical health for all through the implementation an online yoga program that takes participants – teachers and students alike – through yoga exercises and mindfulness activities. Most recently, Milligan has taken on a lead role with the training and implementation of Teacher Child Interaction Therapy, a teaching and classroom philosophy that strengthens teacher-student relationships and increases teacher efficacy through positive interactions.
Milligan follows Ben Franklin Middle School sixth grade teacher Travis Hoeg as the District’s recipient of the Teacher of the Year honor. Her name will now be forwarded to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction as a candidate for the North Dakota Teacher of the Year award.
The Fargo Public Schools Teacher of the Year award has been presented within the District since 1957. The honor is an award regularly bestowed as part of the District’s annual Staff Recognition Program. The District also annually recognizes a “Support Staff of the Year” and an “Administrator of the Year” as part of this recognition program.