Kelly Shepard Wins 2015 Milken Educator Award


Mr. Shepard has the honor of receiving the Milken Educator from Mr. Richard Sandler.

Michael Schulman

Staff Writer

Kelly Shepard, Performing Arts Director, was recently awarded with the prestigious Milken Family Foundation Educator Award. The Milken Educator Awards program rewards excellence in the world of education by honoring top educators across the country. The foundation gives a $15,000 prize to each recipient of the award.

The highly esteemed award was presented to Mr. Shepard on September 21st at a school wide town meeting. Mr. Shepard conducted Kol Echad as they sung the Jewish prayer, Shehecheyanu. Executive Vice President of the Milken Family Foundation, Richard Sandler, then announced that Shepard was this year’s recipient.

When asked to comment about this achievement, Shepard says, “I was completely blown away! I’ve seen several of these awards presented over my 18+ years here at Milken, so I knew I at least had a chance, but I really didn’t think it would be me, so I was really surprised.”

His wife and  Middle School Performing Arts Director Naomi Shephard said, “ I was completely overwhelmed! I felt such joy, elation and pride for him!  I know what an amazing teacher and mentor he is and how many lives he has changed.  He truly is an outstanding human being on every level.”

Mr. Shepard has lead the Performing Arts Department and has produced theatre productions, music ensembles, dance teams, and conducted the award winning school choir, Kol Echad. When asked why he loves to teach performing arts, Mr. Shephard said, “ What I love the most about teaching performing arts is watching kids get excited about stuff that I get excited about. Singing harmony, for example, has it’s own very geeky and special rewards.  There is something very satisfying and exciting about singing some cool chord well and in tune and I love watching some of my students geek out when they experience that moment for the first time. The hard part is working on the building blocks to get us to those moments, so I try to keep that part as fun as possible.  I’m really just a big kid, and teaching performing arts lets me be a big kid a lot of the time!.”

When asked what he plans to do with the prize money, he responded, “My wife (Mrs. Shepard – MS Performing Arts Department Chair) is from Australia.  Her parents are going to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary in the next couple years, so we’re planning to use the money to go celebrate with them!  That and sushi.  Lots of sushi.”

Milken students and teachers alike are very pleased and proud that Mr. Shepard has won the 2015 Milken Educators Award.