The Board of Regents has recognized Andrew Franz of Buffalo's Hamlin Park Claude and Ouida Clapp Academy as one of two recipients of the 2017 Milken Awards.
The award provides public recognition and financial rewards to outstanding educators.
Franz received $25,000 from the Milken Family Foundation.
"Andrew Franz is committed to ensuring high academic achievement for all students. He realizes that learning doesn't begin and end in the classroom, and that to help students succeed in school and life, we must educate the whole child," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.
Commissioner MaryEllen Elia calls Andrew Franz a passionate educator, "Mr. Franz is a tremendous positive force in the lives of his students."
Andrew Franz teaches in a special education 6:1:1 setting at Hamlin Park Claude and Ouida Clapp Academy in Buffalo. He covers all core subject areas in his classroom: Students dissect live hydra, observe animals, care for class pets (a beta fish and an African walking frog), produce documentaries about animals, augment history concepts through online gaming, read graphic novels to supplement classic texts and illustrate math concepts with creative drawings.
As the lead educator on the Student Spaceflight Experiment Project, Franz fired up his 7th and 8th graders about growing potatoes in space, and enlisted biologists at the University of Buffalo and Cornell to serve as outside advisers; he also raised funds to get the students to a STEM Conference in Washington, D.C., and to Cape Canaveral in Florida to observe the Falcon 9 rocket launch that put their tubers into orbit on the International Space Station.
The Milken Award is a National Educator Award program established in the early 1980s to recognize great educators. Educators in public, private, parochial, charter and Department of Defense Schools are eligible. The award provides public recognition and financial rewards to outstanding educators.