Revolutionary Reading Instruction Earns Rhode Island Educator Paige Leddy $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Published on Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Santa Monica, California (October 10, 2023) — Paige Leddy’s students are passionate and strong readers thanks in large part to her dedication to infusing the knowledge and love of reading throughout Richmond Elementary School and beyond. Her compassion and flexibility, paired with data-driven decision-making, assist her in catering to the individual needs of each student. Today, it was Leddy’s time to shine when a routine school assembly turned into the surprise of a lifetime: a $25,000 Milken Educator Award that she can use however she wishes.

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley was joined by Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green to present Leddy with the prestigious Award surrounded by cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries and media. Along with the $25,000 financial prize, Leddy etches her name in Milken Educator Awards history, joining the growing national network of more than 2,900 Milken Educators working to shape the future of the profession.

“Reading opens doors to knowledge and opportunity, and Richmond Elementary School is fortunate to have Paige Leddy as its guide,” said Dr. Foley, who is also a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. “Paige’s dedication to the effective implementation of high-quality curricula, sharing best practices and leading with a growth mindset have propelled students and colleagues alike to excellence. I am honored to welcome Paige to the Milken Educator Award family and look forward to the expertise she will bring to our national network.”

Leddy’s significant district and school involvement are evident in the relationships she has built with the Richmond community. Outstanding educators like Leddy are not aware of their candidacy for the Award. Recipients are sought out while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities afforded by the Award.

“Paige Leddy’s unwavering dedication to education and her students has illuminated the path to excellence in Rhode Island,” said Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “On behalf of the Rhode Island Department of Education, thank you, Paige, for your commitment to the success of our youngest learners. Congratulations on this tremendous achievement.”

The Milken Educator Awards are hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching.” Leddy is among up to 75 recipients across the country this school year who will be awarded as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. This season will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall, empowering recipients to “Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate” the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career.

More about Paige Leddy

Detail-Oriented Instruction: A former second grade reading teacher, Leddy has broadened her impact by serving kindergarten through fourth grade students as a reading specialist. Her expertise is widely valued and supports teachers in effectively delivering the state’s new high-quality instructional materials (Into Reading), grounded in the science of reading. She provides extra assistance to students in a before-school reading program, which consistently yields high attendance and contributes to measurable schoolwide results: In 2022-23, 82% of K-1 students performed at or above level on the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) assessment, while 85% of students in grades 2-4 performed at or above level on the HMH (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Growth Measure. For 2021-22 – the latest data available – Richmond Elementary outperformed the district and state proficiency levels in reading and math on the Rhode Island state assessment.

Encouraging Collaboration: Leddy leads with a growth mindset, using formative phonics assessments and student data to ensure students are on track and to identify areas for intervention, including for RTI (Response to Intervention) meetings. She expands her own instructional practices by participating in new trainings and certifications each year, while also developing WIN (What I Need) Blocks to further differentiated instruction and reading. Between participating in learning walks, classroom observations, teacher mentorship and lesson modeling, Leddy eagerly promotes the professional and personal development of herself and her colleagues.

Community Contributions: Leddy’s involvement in school and district initiatives has included PLC (Professional Learning Community) data leader, District Curriculum and Planning Committee, ELA Community of Practice, state testing coordinator, RICAS (Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System) coordinator, summer slide tutor, and more. After school, Paige is involved in Ready Set Shine, a club serving students in need. By connecting with students’ families and the community, Leddy helps cultivate higher involvement in parent nights, PTO projects, and literacy learning at home.

Education: Leddy earned a bachelor’s in elementary education and psychology in 2007, a master’s in reading in 2021 and a graduate’s certificate in dyslexia knowledge and practice programs from the University of Rhode Island.

Leddy is the second Rhode Island Milken Educator honored this 2023-24 season, wrapping up the Rhode Island leg of this year’s historic Milken Educator Awards tour. She joins Malaree Shields of North Kingstown High School in North Kingstown, who was awarded this morning, Oct. 10.

More about the Milken Educator Award Journey: “The Future

Belongs to the Educated”

The honorees attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in June 2024, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to broaden their impact on K-12 education.

Honorees receive powerful mentorship opportunities for expanded leadership roles that strengthen education practice and policy. Milken Friends Forever (MFF) pairs a new recipient with a veteran Milken Educator mentor; the Expanding MFF Resource and Explorer Program fosters individual veteran Milken Educator partnerships around a specific topic area; and Activating Milken Educators (AME) promotes group collaboration in and across states to tackle pressing educational needs.

Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels.

The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. Some recipients have spent the funds on their children’s or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children.


Milken Educator Awards - Paige Leddy

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