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Mesa STEM Teacher Awarded $25K Prize

Nicki Derryberry.
(Photo courtesy of Milken Family Foundation)
Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, congratulates STEM teacher Nicki Derryberry.

Two Arizona teachers have been awarded Milken Educator Awards and an accompanying $25,000 prize for being tops in their profession.

The honors were announced Monday. Nicki Derryberry, at Mesa’s Red Mountain High School, and Brittany Matsushino, at Cienega High School near Tucson, were recognized.

Derryberry is an advanced STEM coordinator and a biotechnology teacher at Red Mountain. She said she plans to share the prize money.

“It is certainly an honor to be recognized as someone who is impacting the future. I think it’s exciting to know that there is recognition for that, and certainly I’m excited to talk to my students and find out what projects we can work on using the money that we were awarded,” she said.

The Milken awards are presented to a select group of elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other educators across the nation each year.

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.