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Press release

January 15, 2005

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January, 2005 | Supporting Education | Southern California

Assemblymember Juan Vargas Presents “Exceptional Educator” Award to San Diego Teacher


Exceptional Educator January 2005SACRAMENTO – “The Big Spin®” show aired Saturday, January 15, 2005 and featured Keith Ballard of San Diego who received the Lottery’s “Exceptional Educator” award from Assemblymember Juan Vargas of San Diego.

Keith Ballard is an exceptional music teacher at Montgomery Middle School in San Diego. Each day, more than 300 students walk through his classroom doors and are educated about more than just scales and chords. His students also learn about self-esteem, cultural sensitivity and the importance of academics.

Mr. Ballard’s vast music program reflects the school’s diversity with Hispanic, African-American, Caucasian and Filipino students all performing together. He started the school’s Island Steel Drum Band as well as the school’s renowned Mariachi ensemble which traveled the country to perform live on NBC’s The Today Show, and for former President Bill Clinton. Ballard’s exemplary record of service to students has also earned him the 2003 Milken National Educator Award.

The California Lottery’s “Exceptional Educator” Award has been presented on “The Big Spin®” television show since April of 2001. The Lottery enlists legislators and state officials to present these awards which recognize outstanding teachers whose extraordinary efforts help California students to succeed.