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The Milton A. Williams, Jr. Scholars in Education Award recognizes the invaluable role that educators play in the lives of children and honors recipients for their positive impact on education. 

Created in 2009 in partnership with Helen Williams, the award honors the memory of her late husband Milton Williams, Jr.  Mr. Williams was a beloved music teacher and administrator for 43 years at the Alice E. Grady Elementary School in Elmsford, NY. This award serves to honor his legacy as an educator and to encourage others in the field to grow in their teachings and continue learning along the way. 

“Milton was a mentor of not only music, but of life. Aside from teaching, he was a Boy Scout Troop Leader, a Millwood Fire Commissioner, and a member of the Elmsford Rotary Club, among other things,” said Mrs. Williams, herself a former educator in the Ossining school district for 37 years. “Milton had an insatiable thirst for learning and for sharing his knowledge with others. He was dedicated to teaching whenever he had the opportunity and was truly passionate about education in all its forms.”

Mr. Williams' daughter, actress Vanessa Williams, is a Westchester resident and serves on the museum’s Advisory Board.

2014 - Beverly McAllister

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Beverly McAllister, an educator and education administrator in Westchester for over 30 years, is currently the Program Coordinator of the Museum Without Walls, the highly successful interactive education program developed by the Westchester Children’s Museum to fulfill its educational mission until the museum opens its doors.  Previously, Ms. McAllister was Executive Director of Kids’ B.A.S.E. & The Little School in Scarsdale; Director of the Reformed Church Nursery School in Bronxville; Director of Ridgway Nursery School & Kindergarten in White Plains; and a classroom teacher for many years.  Ms. McAllister earned her B.S. degree from SUNY New Paltz and her M. Ed from Memphis State University in Tennessee.

2013 - Barbara Peters


Dr. Barbara Peters is the retired Superintendent of the Elmsford School District.  Dr. Peters began her career as an English teacher in western New York.  She entered the administrative arena with a position as the Executive Director of Youth and Recreation Services, which lead to a series of jobs at the building level and then the central office.  She served as Superintendent of the Tonawanda City School District prior to serving in Elmsford.  Dr. Peters earned her B.S. degree in Elementary Education/English from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, M. Ed in Education from the University of Wales College at Cardiff , C.A.S. in Educational Administration/Creative Studies from Buffalo State College and Ed. D in Educational Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

2012 - Janett Grose


Janett Grose is Director of Children’s Programs and has been overseeing the children’s programs at the Port Chester Carver Center for 7 years.  She holds a Degree in Child Development, and was awarded her New York State School Age Credentials in May 2011.  Ms. Grose has over 18 years of experience in the child care field, including Head Start, teen centers, and after-school programs.  Janett is dedicated to improving and expanding the many enrichment activities offered at Carver, and is committed to providing top-notch after-school care every day, for every child.  Miss Janett, as she is affectionately known, is admired by parents and colleagues for her tenacity, strength, and effort.   

2011 - Jeffrey Cole


Jeffrey Cole has been teaching for 10 years in Westchester County.  As an 8th grade special education teacher, Jeffrey now serves as the Extended School Year teacher/coordinator, Department Head for Special Education, and is a member of the principal’s leadership cabinet at Seven Bridges Middle School in Chappaqua, NY.  Mr. Cole was selected to pursue advanced supervisory studies at the Summer Principal Academy at Columbia University Teachers’ College.  As a passionate believer that “all students can learn,” he hopes to one day lead a school and create a more positive culture of learning and growth for teachers and students.  Mr. Cole earned both his Bachelor’s of Arts in Music and his Masters Degree in Professional Studies in Elementary and Special Education from Manhattanville College.

2010 - Rob Jacoby


Rob Jacoby grew up in White Plains, NY and began saxophone instruction at the age of 8. Mentored by the late Milton A. Williams, Jr., he was chosen as first tenor saxophonist in the Westchester County School Music Association’s All County Jazz Ensemble three years in a row.  He was also selected as the first tenor saxophonist in the New York All State Jazz Ensemble, performing in both Rochester and Albany. Mr. Jacoby has had the pleasure of recording for renowned jazz producer Teo Macero and has expanded his musical talents studying with acclaimed oboist Matt Sullivan.  A recent graduate of New York University School of Music, Rob will bring the mentorship model full-circle as he pursues his graduate degree in music and becomes a member of the New York University adjunct faculty, a mentor for the next generation of aspiring musicians.

2009 - Bettye Perkins


Dr. Bettye Perkins is the Founder and Executive Director of Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers, a unique school-based mentoring program that recruits and trains culturally diverse and economically challenged high school students interested in pursuing a career in teaching.  Dr. Perkins, an educator and former IBM executive, has spent the past 15 years developing and implementing educational programs to enhance the academic achievement of young people.  Dr. Perkins received her Bachelors in Education from North Carolina A & T State University, a Masters in Education Administration from Pace University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Urban Policy from Fordham University.