Getting the national Milken Educator Award is the educational world’s equivalent of getting an Oscar and Douglas Hutton, a Glastonbury High School science teacher, is the only teacher in Connecticut to receive one this year.
Hutton has been teaching physics at the high school for 18 years and his lessons include props, such as auto parts and gliders. When he explains acceleration, he uses a push cart and a baseball and it works.
He is receiving the national honor for using real-world examples to help his students understand physics.
He is so successful that students sometimes take on the role of teachers themselves as they present demonstrations to each other and using critical thinking skills to arrive at the correct conclusions.
Hutton was surprised on Thursday when he learned that he is receiving the $25,000 prize from the Milken Family Foundation.
He was so stunned that he held onto his seat for 30 seconds before even getting up to accept the award in front of 2,200 students and the many others who were watching on a closed-circuit feed.
“I’m just in shock, proud to represent all the great teachers in the school,” Hutton said.
Dr. Jane Foley, founder of the Milken Family Foundation, said Hutton was chosen out of three million other teachers across the country.
“You can't apply. You don't find us, we find you. We look, we search, we go all over the country to find the best of the best,” Foley said.
Hutton’s mission, moving forward, is to work with other state and national educators to help improve education.
“I love teaching. I wouldn't do anything else. It's just what I love to do in my classroom every day. I’ m just thinking, I need to get back to my students because we so much to do today,” he said.
Hutton will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to California for an educational conference.