ACHS teacher Eva Irwin wins $25k Milken Educator Award

ACHS teacher Eva Irwin wins $25k Milken Educator Award
Eva Irwin received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award, dubbed the ‘Oscar of teaching,’ in a surprise event at ACHS. (Photo/ Milken Family Foundation)

By Denise Dunbar |

Alexandria City High School English teacher Eva Irwin won a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. The award was presented to Irwin by Milken Educator Awards Founder Lowell Milken and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Coons, Ph.D., at a schoolwide assembly.

Irwin is the first Alexandria City Public Schools teacher to receive the Milken Educator Award and was unaware of her candidacy or that she had won until the assembly. Recipients are sought out while early to mid-career for what they have achieved – and for the promise of what they will accomplish.

“During her short time at Alexandria City High School, Eva Irwin’s dedication and leadership are commendable and [is] making a positive impact on students, colleagues and the community,” Milken said. “We are proud to welcome Eva to the Milken Educator Network and look forward to seeing her accomplish even greater things in the future to advance educators and students.”

Coons also lauded Irwin for her accomplishments, which included helping her students dramatically improve their performance on the state English and writing exams. Seventy-five percent of Irwin’s students passed the state English exam and 82% passed the state writing exam, both up from 68% in 2021-2022 and above state and district rates.

“We are blessed with outstanding teachers in Virginia, and Eva Irwin at Alexandria City High School is one of the best in the nation,” Coons said. “It is great to see her receive the recognition she deserves and that we could all celebrate her achievement. She is a great representative for Virginia teachers across the Commonwealth.”

The Milken Awards will honor up to 75 recipients across the country in 2023-24 as part of the Milken Family Foundation’s Journey to the 3,000th Milken Educator. 2023-24 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.