COED Graduate Student, John Gendron, Receives Milken Educator Award

Released: 10/14/09

A visit to Elkhorn Area Middle School from State Superintendent Tony Evers turned into a much bigger event as Principal and Marquette University graduate student, John Gendron, was named the Wisconsin recipient of a 2009 Milken Educator Award. The $25,000 cash award is one of 50 given by the Milken Family Foundation to this year’s Milken Educators.

“The admiration and respect John has earned among students, teachers, administrators, and members of the Elkhorn community makes him worthy of this award and one of America’s top educators,” Evers said.

A former eighth-grade math teacher, Gendron has been at Elkhorn Area Middle School for 16 years. He is recognized as a strong advocate for students, an exceptional communicator with parents, and a skilled leader who nudges staff to strive for continuous improvement. Elkhorn Area School District Administrator Greg Wescott calls Gendron a “role model for other building principals.” Another colleague says “if there is an educator who represents the best nationwide, I firmly believe that [Gendron] fits this mold.”

This is not the first time that John Gendron has been honored for his outstanding work. He is also the recipient of the 2003 Larry Stilgebauer Award of Excellence for Impacting Learning. During his career, he has mentored two new middle school principals, worked on the district’s committee to re-write the professional growth and staff development plan, and was a presenter at the 2009 Department of Public Instruction Leadership Conference. Additionally, he is active in the National Academy of Education middle school organization, the Lion’s Club, Rotary, and youth sports.

Gendron earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and his master’s degrees from Aurora University. He is currently working on his superintendent's licensure at Marquette.

The Milken Educator Awards were created to recognize and reward the highest caliber professionals in our nation’s schools. The Milken Educator Awards program, dubbed the — Oscars of Teaching — by Teacher Magazine, is the largest educator awards program in the nation. For more information, visit the Milken Family Foundation website at


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