Where in the World of EMS was A.J. Heightman?

New Jersey EMT Instructor Earns National Award


       A.J. & Kimberly Moreno

During a recent trip to New Jersey for ride-alongs with Jersey City Medical Center-EMS crews and supervisors, I learned about Kimberly Moreno, a teacher at Union City (NJ) High School who received a coveted national Milken Educator Award for her outstanding Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) program that prepares high school students for careers in medicine, including EMT, Paramedic, Nursing and Medical School, while they are still in high school.  It is an amazing program, led by an amazing teacher!

The Milken Educator Awards is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program. More than 2,600 exemplary teachers, principals and specialists have been surprised with individual, unrestricted $25,000 prizes since 1987.

(See a special section on the Milken Award – below)

As a part of the program, Moreno’s students earn college credits through a partnership with the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions (SHRP).  And, the students are simultaneously enrolled in an EMT program at the Jersey City Medical Center and graduate with EMT certification.


Union City High School is a new, modern facility, uniquely constructed with its football stadium and athletic field/facilities on the roof of the high school


Student check their skateboards in at a special, secured area at the front desk

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The Union City High School HOSA students recently won second place in CPR/First Aid at the NJ State Leadership Conference and will be representing New Jersey at the International Leadership Conference in Nashville TN, in June 2016.

This program has excelled over the past few years in much more than medical study under Moreno’s leadership, conducting blood drives which collected over 200 donations this year and earned two $500 scholarships for the students leading the drive.

I had the opportunity to visit one of the Blood Drives hosted by the Union City High School HOSA students and was highly impressed with the students, their professional demeanor and devotion to EMS and medicine.  Each student I met loved the program, loved EMS and loved being involved in a leadership capacity at their high school.


Massive blood drive organized and staffed by HOSA students



A.J. with “Bernie the Blood Drop!”


I was also highly impressed with Moreno, an EMT, M. Ed, Doctoral Candidate, SHRP Instructor of Health Science, HOSA Advisor, and American Heart Association Instructor. She is most worthy of the Milken Award and has been asked to present around the nation as a result of her award and the impact her student program is having on cultivating the careers of her students in the medical arena. Watch for her on a future Ted Talk.

About Milken Educator Awards

Film has the Oscar, music has the Grammy, science has the Nobel and sports has its gold medals, and the  nation’s educators are honored with the Milken Educator Awards.

Milken Educator Award Obelisk

Established in 1987 as an initiative of the Milken Family Foundation, the Milken Educator Awards program rewards and inspires excellence in the world of education by honoring top educators around the country with $25,000 unrestricted awards.

Not an accolade for “lifetime achievement” or the proverbial gold watch at the exit door, the Milken Educator Awards targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

To date, more than 2,600 Awards have been given out, totaling more than $65 million.

The one-time award is just the beginning.  Milken Educators are given access to powerful networking and development tools throughout their careers in education.  When combined, more than $137 million has been devoted to the overall program.

Recipients are caught by surprise when their names are announced at emotional all-school assemblies in front of cheering students, proud colleagues, distinguished officials and the media.

There’s a reason why Teacher magazine called it the “Oscars of Teaching”—new Milken Educators have even been asked for autographs by admiring students!  And while the celebrity treatment is well-deserved, the Awards aren’t about the glitz and glamor.  They’re about bringing attention to these classroom heroes; serving at once as validation, motivation and inspiration to current and future quality educators.  The message:  We recognize you. We value you. We thank you.




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