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Alumni Spotlight

March 10, 2016

Alumna, science teacher earns prestigious national honor

Deborah Siebern-Dennis, a seventh-grade science teacher at Bode Middle School in St. Joseph, Missouri, recently was named the winner of a Milken Educator Award, a national honor awarded to top educators along with a $25,000 cash prize.

The St. Joseph School District recognized Siebern-Dennis with a surprise assembly to make the announcement last month. Dr. Jane Foley, the senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, and Dr. Margie Vandeven, the commissioner of education for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, were on hand.

“It’s evident that Deb relishes her role as a teacher and she has a special gift to teach and inspire middle school students,” Foley said. “Her passion for science, her classroom structure, and her positive attitude motivate her students to be the best they can be. She is a master at using online resources to stretch students’ thinking and explanations in science and she is a true collaborator and mentor to her colleagues. We look forward to seeing her continue to contribute to education with the support and prestige that come with this life-changing award.”

Siebern-Dennis has taught at Bode Middle School since 2006 and began her teaching career in Las Vegas, Nevada.

She earned a master’s degree in educational science and educational leadership from Northwest in 2010 in addition to a bachelor’s degree in middle school education from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2005.

Siebern-Dennis was among up to 40 educators to receive the prestigious national honor during the Milken Family Foundation’s coast-to-coast tour across the country during 2015-2016. The foundation has been rewarding outstanding elementary and secondary educators since 1987. Siebern-Dennis was the 45th recipient in Missouri since the program was implemented in the state in 1996.

The Milken Educator Awards are given each year to outstanding K–12 teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. Award recipients join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators fostering effective educational leadership. For more information about the awards program, visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

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