September 2019
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BSD’s Meghan Nese Earns Prestigious Award

When students, faculty and administrators gathered for an assembly on Jan. 14 in the high school gymnasium, ninth-grade English teacher Meghan Nese wasn’t entirely certain why they were there. Noting the presence of Pennsylvania’s acting Secretary of Education, school board members and even Lower Burrell Mayor Donald Kinosz, Nese suspected only that the school was about to be recognized for excellence.

“I thought we were getting some kind of grant,” she says.

Then Dr. Jane Foley – a representative of the prestigious Milken Educator Awards – took the microphone and revealed the purpose of the assembly: to recognize a teacher who’d been identified as one of the nation’s best with a $25,000 cash prize.

“I was shocked,” Nese says of hearing Foley call her name. “There are so many wonderful teachers in the building and the district. It’s just staggering to me.”

The Milken Educator Award program honors K-12 educators nationwide. Along with the unrestricted $25,000 prize, Nese will be inducted to the Milken Educator Network, which is dedicated to strengthening K-12 education.

High school Principal Dr. John Boylan was one of the few who knew that Nese would be honored that morning. He believes that she is a credit to both the district and her profession.

“Mrs. Nese represents the relentless work ethic it takes to be a highly effective teacher,” Boylan says. “She is one of the many BHS teachers who views this profession not as a job, but as a calling.

Boylan says that Nese – who is in her 17th year in the district – is just as willing to help her students as she is to challenge them.

“She sets very high expectations for achievement. She pushes students out of their comfort zones, and she recognizes that optimal learning occurs when students are struggling with the content,” Boylan says. “That being said, she also possesses the unique ability to support students throughout that process. She genuinely believes that every student can grow as an individual through genuine effort and challenge.”

Nese, who chairs the high school English Department, agrees that she is demanding – but only because she believes so strongly in each student’s ability to achieve.

“I don’t take ‘I don’t know’ for an answer,” Nese says. “I will guide you. I will help you. I will not do the work for you. I believe that together we can make this work.”

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Dr. Carolyn Dumaresq helped present the award to Nese.

“On behalf of Gov. Tom Corbett and all Pennsylvania citizens, I congratulate Meghan for this prestigious award. Meghan represents the high-quality work that thousands of educators across the state do each and every day by guiding students through the learning process to prepare them for success as adults.”




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