BENTONVILLE, Ark. --- Saluting excellence in education, Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates have awarded an unprecedented $1.7 million this year in educational grants through the company’s Good.Works. community involvement program. The grants have been awarded to 3,260 schools in all 50 states through the company’s Teacher of the Year program.

In its fifth year of honoring outstanding teachers in local communities, Teacher of the Year is one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the country, according to Betsy Reithemeyer, Wal-Mart Foundation director. "Education is a cornerstone commitment of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s Good.Works. community involvement program," said Reithemeyer. "Since its inception in 1996, the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year program has recognized nearly 11,000 teachers nationwide and contributed more than $6.6 million in educational grants to schools."

Added Reithemeyer, "This program exemplifies our associates’ commitment to education and the value that excellent teachers deliver to our communities by positively impacting the lives of young people."

This year, not only did each store select a local winner, but Wal-Mart Stores and SAM’S CLUBS also honored 50 state winners and -- for the first time -- honored one national winner as well. Local winners could apply for the state and national awards, and more than 700 applications were received from local winners around the country.

Mark Boen, a third-grade teacher in Fergus Falls, Minn., has been named the first national Teacher of the Year. A special recognition ceremony will honor Boen today at his school, McKinley Elementary. Members of the Fergus Falls community helped Boen win the top award for the annual program. Boen was nominated in Fergus Falls and selected by store associates as the local winner last spring. Then he was selected as the Minnesota state winner this summer by the Miss America organization, which served as the independent judging group. Finally, Boen was chosen this fall over other 700 other applicants for the national award, again by the Miss America Organization, which emphasized character education and community involvement in the selection process.

"We’re delighted Mark has been chosen as the national winner and has brought such positive recognition to Fergus Falls and the state of Minnesota," said Gary Snyder, Fergus Falls store manager.

Boen is indeed an outstanding teacher. He is an accomplished and published author of three books focusing on teaching and education and believes the role of teachers is to celebrate effective students and prepare them not just for school, but also for life.

"Mark and the teaching staff at McKinley Elementary are committed to making a difference in the lives of our students," said Principal Jon Harris. "It is a great honor for Mark - and McKinley Elementary - for him to be recognized as the 2001 national Teacher of the Year. We salute Wal-Mart associates for their commitment to education and to this community."

The Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB Good.Works. program is unique in that it combines both financial and volunteer support from store associates in assisting organizations in making a positive difference. By encouraging a grassroots style of community involvement, store associates identify and support organizations that are improving the quality of life in their communities. In fact, last year Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates in Minnesota raised and contributed more than $2.4 million for local community organizations throughout the state.

In Minnesota alone, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates 52 Wal-Mart stores, Supercenters and SAM’S CLUBS and employs more than 14,000 associates. With annual sales of $191 billion, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates more than 2,700 discount stores, Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, and more than 490 SAM’S CLUBS in the United States. Internationally, the company operates more than 1,100 units. Last year Wal-Mart associates raised and contributed more than $190 million to support communities and local non-profit organizations. FORTUNE magazine has named Wal-Mart the third "most admired" company in America and one of the 100 best companies to work for in the United States, and Americans named Wal-Mart the company they think of first in supporting local causes and issues, according to Cone, Inc. More information about Wal-Mart can be located on-line at and The SAM’S CLUB Web site can be accessed at

2001 State Teacher of the Year Winners

State Teacher of the Year State Winner Total Local Winners in the State Total Grant Dollars Awarded in the State
Alabama Regina Parker
Fort Dale Academy
Greenville, AL
93 $49,000
Alaska Margaret Reed
East Elementary
Kodiak, AK
9 $7,000
Arizona Victoria Lively
Solano Elementary
Phoenix, AZ
51 $28,000
Arkansas Rodney Fulton
Northside Elementary
Bentonville, AR
98 $51,500
California Steve Curry
West Street School
Red Bluff, CA
148 $76,500
Colorado Celia Dunham
Strawberry Park Elementary
Steamboat Springs, CO
54 $29,500
Connecticut Dorothy Young
Mary T. Murphy
School Branford, CT
23 $14,000
Delaware Debbie Magnin
Early Childhood Center
Dover, DE
6 $5,500
Florida Mary Bishop
Garden City Elementary
Ft. Pierce, FL
181 $93,000
Georgia April Tabb
Mitchell County Elementary
Camilla, GA
122 $63,500
Hawaii Liane Martin
Konawaena High School
Kailua Kona, HI
6 $5,500
Idaho Jan Robison
Adams Elementary
Rexburg, ID
15 $10,000
Illinois Elizabeth Burton
VIT Elementary
Macob, IL
143 $74,000
Indiana John Morrow
Castle High School
Boonville, IN
101 $53,000
Iowa David Eaton
Douma Elementary
Ottumwa, IA
59 $32,000
Kansas Norman Don Miller
Fort Scott Middle School
Fort Scott, KS
58 $31,500
Kentucky Connie Jordan
Winburn Middle School
Lexington, KY
80 $42,500
Louisiana Robert Adoue
St. Francis Xavier
New Orleans, LA
94 $49,500
Maine Tammy Myers
Saco Middle School
Biddeford, ME
23 $14,000
Maryland Betty Thornton
Woodhome Elementary #205
White Marsh, MD
42 $23,500
Massachusetts Rose Sarti
Sunderland Elementary
Hadley, MA
40 $22,500
Michigan Shirley Cox
Hurd Road Elementary
Monroe, MI
81 $43,000
Minnesota Mark Boen
McKinley Elementary
Fergus Falls, MN
52 $33,500
Mississippi Shirley Burton
Meridian High School
Meridian, MS
69 $37,000
Missouri Mike Collins
Reeds Spring High School
Branson West, MO
129 $67,000
Montana Ramona Bilden
Jefferson Elementary
Miles City, MT
11 $8,000
Nebraska Laurie Schmidt
East Ward Middle School
Chadron, NE
24 $14,500
Nevada Christine MacKenzie
Parson Elementary
Las Vegas, NV
20 $12,500
New Hampshire Karen Bennett
Reeds Ferry School
Amherst, NH
28 $16,500
New Jersey Ronald Heitmann
Lake Riviera Middle School
Brick, NJ
29 $17,000
New Mexico Rosella Holguin
Silver High School
Silver City, NM
28 $16,500
New York Julianne Tate
West Stand Lake Elementary
Rensselaer, NY
85 $45,000
North Carolina Carol Story
Turrentine Middle School
Burlington, NC
113 $59,000
North Dakota Cheryl Knutsen
Hagen Elementary
Williston, ND
9 $7,000
Oklahoma Jack McNeely
Purcell High School
Purcell, OK
96 $50,500
Oregon Colleen Stewart
McKay Creek Elementary
Pendleton, OR
27 $16,000
Pennsylvania Carol Hirsch
McDowell Intermediate High School
Erie, PA
104 $54,500
Rhode Island Metro Narcisi III
West Warwick High School
Warwick, RI
9 $7,000
South Carolina Melodie White
Taylors Elementary School
Greenville/Taylor, SC
74 $39,500
South Dakota Sherrie Gray
Lincoln Elementary
Aberdeen, SD
11 $8,000
Tennessee Tommy Allen
East Middle School
Tullahoma, TN
105 $55,000
Texas Linda Culp
Thorndale High School
Rockdale, TX
337 $171,000
Utah Susan Andrews
Whitesides Elementary
Layton, UT
25 $15,000
Vermont Deidre Liguori
S. Burlington Central School
Williston, VT
4 $4,500
Virginia Ben Talley
Van Pelt Elementary
Bristol, VA
78 $41,500
Washington Leona De Laurier
Grand Mound Elementary
Chehalis, WA
30 $17,500
West Virginia Mark Winnell
Zion Christian Academy
South Charleston, WV
32 $18,500
Wisconsin Judy Foust
Menomonie Middle School
Menomonie, WI
75 $40,000
Wyoming Pinky Johnson
Laramie Jr. High
Laramie, WY
12 $8,500
TOTAL 3,260 local winners $1,762,500