Claudia Orr, principal at Eisenhower Elementary School in Green Bay, has recently received well-earned honors nationally and locally.

In November, Orr was the Wisconsin recipient of a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation Educator Award. And in January she was honored by the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce as a young professional who is improving the community’s quality of life.

In announcing Orr’s award the Milken Foundation noted: “Her strong leadership has led to extraordinary gains … Her school made Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), with 90 percent of third- and fourth-graders and 97 percent of fifth-graders performing at adequate levels across all subject areas.”

A former bilingual education teacher in her fourth year as principal at Eisenhower Elementary School, Orr said she knew she would face a challenge leading a school in which most students are growing up in day to day poverty, but she was undaunted.

“I take pride in these achievements, but mostly I feel pride for our students and staff,” she said. “For many of our students there aren’t enough role models. So we need to inspire them. We need to demonstrate that we care and that we know they can succeed.”

Orr is the fourth Green Bay district educator to capture the prestigious award. Previous local winners included Green Bay East Principal Terry Fondow (1999), Doty elementary teacher Marcy Levine (2000), and Nicolet Elementary Principal Tammy Van Dyke (2002).

Unlike many awards, there is no formal application or nomination process for the Milken Educators. Rather, each state’s department of education appoints a blue ribbon committee that recommends candidates based up strict criteria. The Milken Family Foundation makes the final selection.

Orr is also a member of the inaugural class of the Future 15, by Current, the young professional network of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. The Future 15 are young professionals who excel in their respective field and are having a positive impact on the community’s growth, prosperity and quality of life.

“I believe in ‘no excuses’ leadership,” she says. “We don’t raise performance by lowering the bar we raise performance by building trust and finding a way to motivate their drive to succeed.”