Language Translation
  Close Menu

Marion County 2nd Grade Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Award

  • DOE
  • About IDOE
  • News
  • Current: Marion County 2nd Grade Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Rosa Parks Elementary Teacher Recognized for Innovative Instructional Practices and Project-based Learning Focus

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Molly Williams
Senior Communications Specialist
(317) 234-3880

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education and the Milken Family Foundation today surprised Brittany Tinkler, a second grade teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary in Marion County, with the prestigious Milken Educator Award – which comes with a prize of $25,000 from the foundation.

“Mrs. Brittany Tinkler’s love for education and innovative project-based learning has an impact that extends throughout Perry Township schools,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Whether by bringing in community partners to introduce her students to new career possibilities, helping her classes outperform expected growth in math and English/language arts, or launching a robotics club, Brittany continues to give back to the very same school community where she attended as a child. An advocate for all students, Brittany is proof that great teachers change lives and strives to do the same for each of her own students.”

The Milken Educator Awards celebrate, elevate and activate the American teaching profession and inspire young, capable people to join it. The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients are heralded while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities earned from the award.

“Brittany Tinkler is a treasure to Perry Township, drawing from her experience both as a classroom teacher and teacher leader to bring learning to life for her students every day,” said Dr. Jane Foley, who is herself a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. “It is no surprise that she calls Rosa Parks Elementary her second home. For Brittany – a proud product of a family of educators – teaching is not only a vocation, but also a volition to help her students and colleagues reach their fullest potential. We are fortunate to have Brittany as a member of our national Milken Educator Award family.”

Brittany Tinkler has enhanced learning for hundreds of students at Rosa Parks Elementary in Indianapolis, both in her second grade classroom and in her previous role as a master teacher. She is a strong advocate for project-based learning (PBL) and has helped lead its rollout for the school’s second and fourth graders. Tinkler brings community partners from the local zoo, radio station, rescue mission and fire station into her classroom, introducing students to a new world of career possibilities as they explore their interests. Because of her innovative approach, her students outperformed district growth and expected individual growth in both math and ELA.

As a master teacher, Tinkler planned and facilitated cluster cycles, field tested new instructional strategies and led meetings with mentor teachers to grow the capacity of other teacher leaders in Perry Township to incorporate effective, innovative instructional practices in their own classroom. Through the district’s partnership with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), Tinkler has also shared her extensive experience with PBL with educators around the country through professional development, conference presentations, articles and podcasts. She co-authored a chapter in a book about math-related PBL in elementary classrooms. Tinkler also started an after-school running club and helped Rosa Parks Elementary launch robotics and math teams.

Tinkler hails from a family of educators — her grandfather was a principal in the Indianapolis area — and teaches in the same district from which both she and her husband graduated. Tinkler’s passion for teaching and learning stems from a very personal mission: to give back to the school community that helped educate her.

Tinkler earned a bachelor’s in elementary education in 2012 from Indiana University and a master’s in curriculum and instructional leadership in 2018 from Indiana Wesleyan University.