By LINDA G. RASTELLI
A former computer teacher at the High Technology High School in Lincroft has won a $25,000 Milken National Educator award from the Milken Family Foundation, established by former junk bond trader Michael Milken and his brother Lowell.
James Gleason is the founding principal of the Communications High School in Wall, one of five Monmouth County career academies.
The MIT Media Lab was Gleasons inspiration in building the program at CHS, where students gain hands-on experience in areas like technology, journalism, graphic arts, and TV & radio, he says. Only one in four applicants is admitted.
“The creative spirit has really blossomed here,” says Gleason, whose own background is in technology education. “The Internet is traditional media now every large newspaper has a Web presence today. We crave instant access to information. But we still use film and we print a campus newspaper. We make sure the students understand where all this is coming from.”
Some of Gleason’s seniors are working, through a mentorship program, at local businesses such as the Asbury Park Press and Tapestry International, a Sea Bright television production company.
The Milken foundation surprises up to 80 teachers coast to coast with the awards, for which there is no application process.
The prizes, which carry no restrictions on how they might be spent, are slated to be given out at a ceremony in Los Angeles next spring.