Knox County school teacher surprised with $25,000 award

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Third grade Farragut Intermediate School teacher Bobi King had no idea why the school called an assembly Tuesday morning, but she had her suspicions:

"I thought that the school had won something, because I work with so many wonderful educators. The staff here is amazing," said King.

But just one teacher was the winner of the $25,000 Milken Educator Award - and much to King's surprise, it was her.

"This is just - I don't think it's sinking in at all. Not only the money, but the honor," said King.

It's a big honor. The Milken Family Foundation works with state departments of education to pick the top one percent of educators in the country. King is the only person to receive the award this year in Tennessee.

"Our educators, who we believe have the most important jobs in our country, go about their jobs day after day preparing young people for the future and they don't get that same kind of recognition. So this award is meant to say thank you to what we consider to be the unsung heroes of society," said Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Family Foundation.

The award is also meant to inspire future teachers.

"That's why all 1,000 students were in the gym today - so they could hear the message about the importance of educators and some of them could consider becoming teachers themselves," said Foley.

King can spend the $25,000 award on anything she chooses, but said she's not sure what that will be yet.

She said the award is a reflection of how the entire school works for excellence.

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