The Indiana Department of Education and the Milken Family Foundation today surprised Josh Dingeldein, English/language arts teacher at Plymouth High School, with the prestigious Milken Educator Award – which comes with a prize of $25,000 from the foundation.
“Josh Dingeldein is the type of teacher who students will remember long after graduation, not only for the care and compassion he shows his students, but for being an effective and forward-thinking educator,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “His drive to see his students learn and grow is propelled by data and the use of differentiated instruction to best support students who need it most. Mr. Dingeldein also incorporates technology, allowing him to teach more efficiently and allowing his students to access learning in new and innovative ways.”
The Milken Educator Awards celebrate, elevate and activate the American teaching profession and inspire young, capable people to join it. The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities earned from the award.
“Talented teachers like Josh Dingeldein not only promote rigor and critical thinking, but also develop in their students a true love of learning,” said Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards and a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana. “Josh sees a clear path to success for each student and guides them every step of the way. He brings that same enthusiasm to collaborating with colleagues, leading professional development, and innovative approaches to take learning to new heights. Congratulations, Josh, and welcome to the Milken Educator Network.”
A data-driven educator, Josh Dingeldein’s calculated instructional strategies help his ninth and 11th grade students navigate rigorous curriculum, while encouraging productive classroom collaboration and discourse. He presents students with questions and feedback as they work through standards-based lessons in narrative, dialogue and thesis statement writing, as well as rhetorical analyses and researched blog projects. Students learn how to “show, not tell,” through analyzing text and citing evidence, while those in need of extra support benefit from differentiated instruction in small group sessions.
Students in Dingeldein’s Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition course outperformed the state and global average of students scoring a three or higher on the AP test. In 2022-2023, 54% of Plymouth High School students outperformed the state and met the benchmark on the SAT’s Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section.
Dingeldein is always willing to implement new strategies and technology in his classroom. With the rising popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI), he saw the opportunity to use it as a learning tool and created approved prompts to use for analyzing student work and to help students improve their writing.
Active in school leadership and teacher mentorship, Dingeldein serves on PHS’ guiding coalition, assisting in the schoolwide effort to become a model professional learning community. In this role, he has led professional development and helped guide the coalition’s faculty presentation on proposed new, goal-setting initiatives. He also participates on the National Honor Society committee.
Dingeldein earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education from Taylor University in 2015.