State BOE recognizes Milken Educator from Wheeling

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An Ohio County school principal is being recognized by the state Board of Education for receiving the Milken Educator Award.

Madison Elementary School Principal Andrea Trio was honored in Nov. 2022 and spoke about what the award meant to her during the BOE’s meeting in Charleston Wednesday morning.

“It means that I’m reminded that I don’t have to do this. I get to do this. I get to serve children everyday. I get to advocate for them every day,” Trio said.

The award, known as the “Oscars of Teaching,” recognizes top educators across the country with $25,000 each from the Milken Family Foundation.

Trio is known among her students and staff as the “singing principal” because she frequently walks through the halls singing with or for her students. She earned her undergraduate degree in Music Education at West Virginia University.

“Yes, Mrs. Trio is the ‘singing principal’ and she is very talented, but the real take away is the way students look at her,” said Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kim Miller. “They look to her for love, for guidance and because she cares.”

Miller, a 2002 Milken Award recipient, told board members Trio is a shining example of what a principal should mean to students.

“She greets her students every day with a smile, kind words and a tremendous amount of respect. She is a rock in her community,” Miller said.

Trio’s first teaching job was in Frederick, Maryland. She worked as a choir teacher at Triadelphia Middle School and then became the principal at Madison Elementary in Wheeling in 2015.

Stephanie Bishop, vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, was also at the meeting in Charleston and said she’ll never forget Trio’s announcement in November.

“It was as if the sun was shining in every corner of the school and in everyone we encountered. Andrea Trio makes that sunshine and hope possible as she represents the excellence in education found all across your state,” Bishop said.

Trio said her job can have its challenges, particularly because Madison Elementary is located in an economically disadvantaged community. She said many students are raised by a single parent, grantparent or other family member.

“The cause of this likelihood is based on incarceration, addiction or cases where students have been exposed to unhealthy environments. Each one of these students has a story,” she said.

Her job has been to make sure students feel seen, protected and motivated to do their best.

“The greatest gift that students receive each day is the gift of love. That’s what I will strive to give them each and every day — a love that reminds them to always try their best, a love that gives them hope to believe in who they are, a love that reminds them that they deserve all good things,” Trio said.

Trio said she gets emotional thinking about the day she received the Milken award because of her passion for education.

“The tears were of complete and utter joy — the joy in knowing that hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed, the joy in knowing that I have been called into a profession to serve not what, but who is most important: beautiful and deserving children,” she said.

Trio will represent the state at the National Milken Educator Awards Forum next week in Los Angeles.

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