Alumnus Wins Huge Award as Elementary Educator

News Date
Dalraida principal Bryan Cutter BEST.jpg
Photo courtesy The Milken Family Foundation

Top National Elementary Educator Award Presented to ASU Triple-Alumnus

- Surprise moment captured as ASU alumnus, Dr. Bryan Cutter, Wins Milken Award & $25-K 

 By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

ASU alumnus Bryan Cutter received the surprise of a lifetime on Oct. 19 when the “educational forum” he had planned turned out to be the setting for the announcement that he had won one of the nation’s top elementary school educator awards. 

A second-year principal at Montgomery’s Dalraida Elementary School, Cutter was the center of attention at a packed school assembly when he learned that he is one of the winners of the coveted Milken Educator Award, given by the Milken Family Foundation, and the recipient of a check in the amount of $25,000. 

In their announcement, The Milken Foundation explained that the award was presented to Dr. Cutter for his innovative leadership style, outstanding implementation of technology throughout the school, and for helping establish one of the first elementary school STEM labs in the region.  

"I was totally caught off guard because I thought that I was organizing a school assembly event about student achievement awards with the Alabama and Montgomery Public School System superintendents of Education joining us," Cutter said. "When I realized that the event was to honor me, I was in total shock and it was just incredible."  


Cutter is a three-time alumnus of Alabama State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2009, a master’s in instructional leadership in 2014, and a Ph.D. in educational leadership, policy and law in 2019. Cutter wrote his dissertation on middle school discipline policies and procedures in Alabama’s “Black Belt.” 

The Milken Educator Awards, known as the “Oscars of teaching,” are presented both to inspire and uplift the winners who are recognized as making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities alike. The specific winners remain a closely guarded secret until they are announced. 


Over the past 35 years, more than $140 million in funding, including more than $73 million in individual awards, has been devoted to the overall Milken Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout the recipients’ careers. Along with the financial prize, recipients join the national Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,900 top teachers, principals and specialists. The network serves as a rich resource for fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others dedicated to excellence in education.  

In the Foundation’s release, Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator, praised Cutter for his leadership and impact. 

"Successful students thrive with successful educators, and Dr. Bryan Cutter epitomizes effective and creative leadership,” Foley said “As a former student in Montgomery Public Schools himself, Bryan acutely understands the unique challenges within the community. His knowledge and experiences guide him to make positive ripples in the lives of his students. I am excited to welcome Bryan into our Milken Educator Network, where he will have opportunities to make lasting connections and broaden his impact on the teaching profession.” 


Alabama's Milken award winner gives Alabama State University a great share of the credit for his being recognized by the Milken Family Foundation. 

"My studies for all three of my degrees that I obtained at ASU helped lay the foundation that has allowed me to help the children that we teach, which all contributed to my winning this incredible award presented by the Milken family," Cutter stated. "My educational and leadership skills were honed and sharpened by ASU faculty members in the College of Education who were and still are passionate about helping its graduates springboard into leading schools and sustaining positive skills in the students that they teach." 

ASU news media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.