English teacher Mikki McMillion wins Goldin Award

English teacher Mikki McMillion wins Goldin Award

Joyce Varma

Mikki McMillion was awarded the Excellence in Education award on May 7. She spoke about her experiences and projects from this school year when receiving her award. Source: Harriet Goldin
Mikki McMillion was awarded the Excellence in Education award on May 7. She spoke about her experiences and projects from this school year when receiving her award. Source: Harriet Goldin

When she received a phone call in March informing her that she had won the Goldin Excellence in Education award, English teacher Mikki McMillion thought it was a prank call. She did not even know she had been nominated for the award.

Deborah Vanni, a Homestead High School literature teacher who formerly taught at MVHS was one of the three FUHSD teachers to nominate McMillion. Vanni co-taught an English class with McMillion when she worked at MVHS, and McMillion called her soon after hearing about the award.

“She said, ‘What? I think you have the wrong number.’ That’s so McMillion right?” Vanni said. “So she hung up, and didn’t really think much about it. And then another call came, and she was like ‘Now what is this? Who keeps calling me?’ She’s modest, and it’s genuine modesty.”

Every year since 1991, the Goldin Foundation has given six Excellence in Education awards, one to each of the four divisions of school districts that cover 77 districts throughout the nation. The California division covers 17 school districts. Teachers and individuals must be nominated for the award by administration, fellow teachers, parents or any members of the community. The recipients of the awards are then determined by an advisory board composed of previous Goldin Foundation winners. According to the foundation, the award is given to unsung heroes who go beyond the required curriculum.

In previous years, Leadership and Science teacher Tim Krieger won the Goldin award for Excellence in Education in 2004, as did Journalism and English teacher Michelle Balmeo in 2010.

MVHS English teacher Lynn Rose, Fremont High School English teacher Robert Javier and Vanni have all collaborated with Mcmillion on a professional level and were therefore able to notice the contributions she made to MVHS and nominate her for the award.

Not only does McMillion teach World Literature and Writing, but she also founded and advises the New Student Support Club, which gives support to students who do not receive it at home from their parents. In addition, she was involved with the sophomores’ TED Talks project at MVHS this year and continues to collaborate closely with the Special Education department and Art 2.

McMillion has been teaching at MVHS since 1995, and according to each of the three teachers who nominated her, she is creative and engages her students.

“She deserves the Goldin award because over the past 18 years, she has not only demonstrated a consistency in her teaching methods and styles and her ability to make connections with students, but she’s definitely had growth in her ability to make her teaching the best it can possibly be,” Javier said. “She is a teacher who believes that no matter how long she’s been teaching, you’re constantly learning.”