Press Releases

AZ Principal Omar Duron Surprised with Milken Educator Award

January 17, 2020

In Gadsden Elementary School District #32 located along the U.S.-Mexico border, Omar Duron has worked diligently as a teacher and principal to give his community's students the opportunity to live the American dream. Born and raised in Yuma County, Duron sees his mission as not only professional, but personal. Today, that dedication was rewarded with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award, which he can use however he wishes. 

Duron was surprised with the prestigious national recognition by Milken Educator Awards Founder Lowell Milken and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman at an all-school assembly at Southwest Junior High, where Duron is serving his third year as principal. Previously Duron worked in the district as a classroom teacher, teacher leader, and a professional development coordinator in the central office. 

"Drawing on his own deep roots in the San Luis community, Omar Duron has made understanding students and their families a top priority," said Lowell Milken. "Talented, charismatic and reflective as a teacher leader, he leveraged his knowledge and skills by mentoring others. Now as principal, Omar firmly believes that leading is collaborative, hands-on, and supportive, resulting in a schoolwide determination to prepare all students for success." 

Duron is the only Arizona recipient of the Award for the 2019-20 school year and among up to 40 educators nationwide to receive the honor this season. 

Hailed by Teacher magazine as the "Oscars of Teaching," the Milken Educator Awards celebrate, elevate and activate the American teaching profession and inspire young, capable people to join it. The Milken Educator Award is not designated for lifetime achievement. Recipients are heralded while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities inherent in the Award. 

"Strong school leadership is critical to student and teacher success," said Superintendent Hoffman. "When our educators know they have a leader that believes and invests in them, they are more likely to stay in the classroom. I am grateful for Omar Duron's commitment to building teacher leaders and student achievement at Southwest Junior High. He represents the best of Arizona's public education system."

More information about Duron, plus links to photos and video from today's assembly, can be found on the Milken Educator Awards website at