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Tyler Finch has made quite the impact in southern New Mexico and one national organization has noticed.  The Loving High School teacher and coach has recently been recognized for all of his extraordinary work.  Finch was awarded a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for his outstanding innovation and creativity in motivating his students while preparing them for life after high school, college and beyond.

“I had no idea it was coming,” said a surprised Finch.  “We were notified we were going to have an assembly and the Secretary of Education was going to come to speak to our school on literacy.  The next thing I know, it’s a whirlwind of events.”

The Milken Educator Awards, hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching”, celebrate the teaching profession and those who inspire others.  The award recognizes elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education.

“It’s an honor to receive it and great for the kids of Loving, it’s definitely a community award,” said Finch.

“Through his high engagement and innovative leadership in and out of the classroom, Tyler Finch is making an indelible mark on his students, colleagues and community,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. “His expertise and creative use of technology to reach his students, effectively examine data to develop instructional practices and leverage his talent across the district are some of the exceptional attributes that make him a Milken Educator.”

“Tyler Finch represents the best of the best in our profession,” said New Mexico Public Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus. “He inspires his students to succeed at the highest levels, and he reminds every educator in New Mexico why we joined this noble profession with its tremendous capacity to shape young lives. Thank you, Mr. Finch, for being a guiding light for all of us. You make us proud.”

Finch chairs the district science department in Loving and has a unique ability to reach and motivate his students, regardless of their background, and continuously adjusts his practices to meet their diverse needs. He consistently examines student data to inform his instructional practices and helps colleagues to do the same. Finch developed an analytical tool to help ensure that district assessments are fair and meaningful. With his years of expertise with educational technology, especially with the Canvas learning management system, Finch was able to swiftly navigate the uncharted territory educators faced when schools closed their buildings in March 2020 and shifted to remote learning. He provided daily video instruction via Canvas and learned Spanish to enable participation by his monolingual students, allowing them to participate in online discussions and maximize virtual instruction.

Well known in Loving as a football and track coach, Finch took advice and inspiration from coaches at Stanford and Vanderbilt Universities by creating Falcon Strong, a workout program for students that spans both the field and classroom. Football players memorize his “Falcon Strong” creed at the start of each season, and it has since been adapted for the entire school.

Finch was a multisport-athlete at Piedra Vista High School and went on to play football at Eastern New Mexico University.  Finch earned his bachelor’s degree in science in 2013 and a master’s in curriculum and instruction in 2018.

Along with his $25,000 award, Finch will travel to California in June to meet with more than 60 other recipients nationwide.  Finch is the first recipient of the Award in Loving Municipal Schools.

“I’ve been blessed and able to serve this community for ten years now and it’s an honor for me to come to work every day and help these kids to move forward and build personal relationships with people in the community and continue to strive and grow in areas that we can.”


About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. The awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. The initiative was created by the Milken Family Foundation, which celebrates 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at MFF.org

*photo courtesy Milken Family Foundation

**some of release contributed by Laura Blank/Katie Elliott


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