An elementary school principal in Council Bluffs is one of about 80 educators nationwide, and the only one in Iowa, to be named a Milken Educator Award recipient for 2008. Jason Plourde was surprised with the news this morning at a school assembly.
Council Bluffs Superintendent Martha Bruckner says Plourde, the students and most everyone else thought the assembly was only for a salute to veterans on Veterans Day. "We made it that, we thanked veterans and we honored them," Bruckner said. "Then, we had a couple of guests and they talked about how wonderful educators are and said that we had a rock star among us…and slowly let the students know that the rock star was going to get $25,000."
The 37-year-old Plourde was named principal at Washington Elementary in Council Bluffs in fall 2006. Shortly afterward, a fire damaged Crescent Elementary School in the district. Bruckner says Plourde volunteered to house the Crescent students and staff at Washington for two years.
"He absolutely, powerfully ran two different schools under one building," Bruckner said. "He brought two very different populations together so that the teachers cared about each other, the kids cared about each other and the parents learned to care about each other. It was a feat that a lot of people couldn’t have done and Jason did it so well."
In April, Plourde will attend a Milken Educator Award ceremony in Los Angeles and receive his $25,000 check.