A love and passion for teaching has paid off big time for a Mitchell educator. She is one of only 35 teachers in the country who received the 'Milken Educator Award' Wednesday and she had no idea it was coming.
When the governor, state dignitaries and city officials all show up at your school, you know something big is about to happen; But teachers, students, and other faculty at Longfellow Elementary had no idea what.
Until the governor got up and read the name of the teacher who was going to receive $25,000.
4th grade teacher Amanda Christensen was hand-picked by the Milken Foundation as one of the best teachers in the country.
She was totally surprised.
"I was more worried my students were sitting down and quiet with the governor here, I can't believe it, I'm absolutely blown away that this is happening," Christensen said. "I love coming to school every day, it's not a job, I get here every day to see my kids."
And that's pretty obvious judging by their response - her students swarmed her with hugs.
Besides her classroom work, the Milken Foundation cited Christensen's community service of working with disabled adults as one of the many reasons she was selected.
"Amanda Christensen exemplifies what we're looking for in an educator, she's dedicated, she gives to the community and she's everything we look for in a Milken Educator," Senior Program Administrator Greg Gallagher said.
Christensen is honored and grateful, but she wants to recognize some of the other teachers and staff who she says have helped her become a better teacher.
"It's as much for them as it is for me, this is amazing, I'm so thankful our little school is put on the map in Mitchell, South Dakota, this is amazing, I can't believe it," Christensen said.
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