The Million Dollar Teacher Project

The Million Dollar Teacher Project

Lloyd Hopkins has a bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University.  Lloyd used his education to found and become the Executive Director of Million Dollar Teacher Project (MDTP).  The mission of Million Dollar Teacher Project is to elevate the teaching profession by increasing compensation, support and recognition.  The nonprofit organization is developing unique/innovative strategies to impact compensation, support and recognition.  Being a new organization (MDTP launched October 2016), the company has made great strides in a short amount of time by starting with creating innovative approaches to recognizing teachers through the #apples4teachers #teacherthankyounotes social media campaign and the Take a Teacher to Lunch campaign.  The former engages the community to upload video “thank you notes” to their favorite teachers and MDTP shares those online via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

With “Take a Teacher to Lunch,” an ambitious goal has been set of taking the teachers to lunch, in some capacity, in every school district in the state of Arizona by the end of 2018.  These lunches are designed to be community gatherings that create a cross section between business, community and teachers to celebrate and recognize outstanding educators. We are seeking to create effortless ways for people to get involved in this conversation.

Lloyd is a staunch supporter of education and has worked in and around the sector, in different capacities, for 17 years.  He has spent time in the classroom as a teaching assistant, ran after-school recreation programs and has lead dropout prevention initiatives.   He has truly seen what works well in the system and what doesn’t first hand.  Ever since his days at Maryvale High School in Phoenix, he recognized that education can truly be a vehicle to help you recognize your dreams but the system must be improved so it can fulfill that promise for more students.  Lloyd believes that we must start by fixing what he calls this “beacon on the hill” approach to education.

The “Beacon on the hill” refers to the fact that in every state we have amazing schools but, that amazing school is often surrounded by less successful ones.  That amazing school will get all the attention and the public has learned to accept that the others are just bad schools.  Lloyd doesn’t believe we should be okay with that.  He believes that we should actively seek ways to make ALL schools amazing.  Parents should be able to have just as much confidence in their neighborhood school as the private school across town.  Which is a choice that Lloyd has had to face himself as a parent of two.  “Look, I get it.  Every parent wants the best for their child.  I want the best for my children.  From that desire, my children never attended the neighborhood school in my area.  My wife and I travel across town to send them to the schools that have the better test scores.  It is from going through that experience myself that I became committed to creating a system that can make ever school amazing.”

It is from his collective discontent with education as first a participant, then a supporter and then a parent that birthed Million Dollar Teacher Project.  The philosophy of the organization is rooted in the simple concept of the most cost-effective approach to education reform is to pour more money and resources in to the teaching profession itself.  “If we want amazing students we must have amazing teachers.”   He understands the value of having the latest technology in classrooms and great buildings for education to happen out of but, believes there is a disconnect when in the center of those beautiful buildings and amazing technology is not a competent, qualified and engaged teacher.  Nothing in a school, from the students, to the leadership, to the equipment reaches its full potential without amazing teachers in the middle of it, bringing it all together.

Lloyd and his Million Dollar Teacher Project have lofty goals of elevating the teaching profession by increasing recognition, compensation and support of educators.  The desired outcomes are to make the profession more competitive with other in-demand and prestigious careers to attract and retain amazing educators in every classroom.  The work of this amazing organization is beginning in Arizona and the state is lucky for it.

Share Button