Grambling State University – GSU Alum Marco French Wins Milken Educator Award for Creating a Culture of Excellence for Educators and Students

Queensborough Leadership Academy Principal Marco French kicks off the All Schools Gathering

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Santa Monica, Calif. — By putting the needs of staff and students first, Chancellor Marco French has transformed the academic performance of Queensborough Leadership Academy and created an environment for everyone to thrive. Yet today, French was at the center of an all-schools assembly where he was surprised with a national Milken Educator award. The recognition comes with a cash prize of $25,000 which French can use however he sees fit.

Milken Educator Awards founder Lowell Milken was joined by Louisiana Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley to present French with the prestigious honor before cheering on students, grateful colleagues, national dignitaries and locals and the media. In addition to today’s fanfare, French will join a nationwide network of more than 2,800 Milken Educator Award winners dedicated to strengthening K-12 education.

French is among more than 60 educators across the country who will receive the award during the 2021-22 season. Caddo Parish’s latest recipient was awarded in 2015.

“Chancellor Marco French has achieved significant success in aligning all of his efforts with developing, motivating and retaining effective educators,” said Lowell Milken. “Marco unifies its people around a common vision of excellence and, in doing so, creates a collaborative and dynamic culture enabling everyone to excel.”

Milken Educator Awards founder Lowell Milken is delighted to welcome Principal Marco French to the Milken Educator family. “Chancellor Marco French has achieved significant success in aligning all of his efforts with developing, motivating and retaining effective educators,” he said. “Marco unifies its people around a common vision of excellence and, in doing so, creates a collaborative and dynamic culture enabling everyone to excel.”

French leads the academy’s implementation of the TAP system for the advancement of teachers and students – a flagship initiative of the National Institute for Teaching Excellence (NIET). Master and mentor teachers work with French administrators and others to set goals, guide job-embedded professional learning, mentor educators in the classroom, and leverage faculty talents to drive student growth .

“As a former teacher, content coach and instructional coordinator, Marco French understands learning and leadership from many angles,” said state Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “These experiences clearly influenced his work as director; he is committed to the success of the Queensborough Leadership Academy community, where he continues to motivate students and staff and inspire the next generation of leaders.

Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching”, the Milken Educator Awards inspire and elevate the unique stories of educators who make a profound difference to students, colleagues and communities. Prizes are not designated for all achievements. Recipients are hailed early to mid-career for what they have achieved – and for the promise of what they will achieve given the resources and opportunities inherent in the award.

French is the third recipient of the Milken Educator Award this season. Jay Weisman, a math and social science student at Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, received the award this morning. Laura Laiche, a third-grade teacher at Slaughter Elementary School in East Feliciana Parish, won the award yesterday.

Learn more about Marco French

Building relationships: Every morning, rain, rain, sleet or sleet, Chancellor French – known to the school as “Bowtie Principal” – greets students as they enter campus. During the holidays, he puts on a Santa Claus costume and distributes small gifts when the pupils arrive. The rest of the day, French is rarely in his office; instead, he’s in the trenches with teachers in their classrooms, observing lessons, modeling instructional strategies, and working with small groups of students. Every decision French makes puts the needs of the students first. When he realized that many students were running out of warm clothes while waiting for the bus or walking to school, French partnered with Operation Warm and secured a coat for each student.

Increase student achievement: French has been instrumental in transforming several underperforming campuses into nationally recognized public schools. Fully invested in improving student success and developing educator expertise, French has a “whatever it takes” attitude that has earned him respect in the building and throughout Caddo Parish. Queensborough earned an A in 2019 for student progress and was named Northwest Louisiana’s Outstanding School for Maximum Growth in ELA and Math. In 2018-19, Queensborough students outperformed the district and the state in overall growth, as well as performance for students of color, those who are economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities.

Pedagogical direction: French has embraced the TAP system’s principles of continuous learning and leadership development through intensive, program-dependent coaching. A former teacher, content coach and instructional coordinator, French leads weekly instructional team leadership meetings with Queensborough administrators, counselors and teacher masters and mentors to build the leadership needed to support teachers through weekly job-embedded and one-on-one group meetings. management. He works with teachers and the management team to analyze student results and qualitative data from teachers throughout the year in order to make pedagogical adjustments. When COVID-19 closed the building in the spring of 2020, French quickly moved its instructional leadership team meetings to a virtual platform so the group could quickly help teachers adapt their teaching materials and lessons to learning. in line. He works to ensure 100% of teachers at Queensborough are Apple certified so students have access to the same opportunities with technology as their peers.

Impact on the neighborhood: A leader in the district, French frequently presents for teachers and principals at Caddo Parish on topics such as classroom management systems, data-driven decision-making, one-on-one support for struggling students, and practical mathematical strategies. When Louisiana rolled out tools for professional learning planning and program implementation, French invited state and district leaders to visit so they could see how the tools worked in practice. In the fall of 2019, it hosted leaders from Tennessee who wanted to implement a high-quality curriculum in an impactful way.

Community building: French prioritizes building a strong school community. It organizes bowling games and treasure hunts, as well as workshops for parents to learn how to support their students at home. Outside of school, he runs tutoring programs and is actively involved in outreach ministries through his church and local social organizations.

Education: French received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Grambling State University in 2009 and a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Arkansas State University in 2015.

Learn more about the Milken Educator Awards: “The future belongs to the educated.”

In addition to the financial award, Milken Educator Award winners join the national Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,800 top teachers, principals and specialists. The network is a rich resource for fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others committed to excellence in education.

  • Winners will also attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum where they can network with new colleagues as well as veteran Milken educators and other education leaders on how to increase their impact on the world. education from kindergarten to 12th grade. Additionally, they will learn how to get involved in the Milken Friends Forever (MFF) mentorship program, in which first-year Milken Educators receive one-on-one coaching and support from a veteran Milken Educator on ways to elevate their educational practice and to play an active role in educational leadership, policy and practice.
  • Over the years, more than $140 million in funding, including $70 million for individual cash awards, has been dedicated to the overall Milken Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients’ careers.
  • Milken’s veteran educators frequently hold leadership positions nationally, nationally and internationally.
  • “We find you. You can’t find us! Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Awards initiative does not have a formal nomination or application process. Applicants are selected through a confidential screening process and then vetted by blue ribbon committees in each state. The most outstanding nominees are recommended for the award, with the final selection being made by the Milken Family Foundation.
  • The cash prize of $25,000 is unlimited. The recipients used the money in various ways. For example, some have spent the funds on their children’s further education or their own further education, funding dream excursions, creating scholarships, and even adopting children.

Oprah, a longtime education advocate, shared her congratulations to this year’s recipients in a video message thanking “the nation’s most incredible educators” and acknowledging her deep appreciation for the “tireless work” they do. .

To get regular updates on surprise Milken Educator Award events or to keep up to date with events, follow and use the hashtag #MilkenAward on Facebook (@MilkenEducatorAwards), Twitter (@Milken), YouTube (/MilkenAward), Instagram (MilkenFamilyFdn) and TikTok (@MilkenAward).

For more information, visit or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772.

About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. The awards provide public recognition and individual financial awards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists across the country who promote the excellence in education. Recipients are announced early to mid-career for what they have accomplished and for the promise of what they will accomplish. The initiative was created by the Milken Family Foundation, which celebrates 40 years of improving education in America and around the world. Learn more at

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