Shannon Hill shuffled into the gymnasium of her middle school, thinking it was just another school assembly. But instead, the teacher got the surprise of her lifetime.
Hill, a middle school physical education and health teacher in Thermopolis, was presented with what has been dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” award, which comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000. Hill is the only winner of the Milken Educator Award for 2017-2018 from Wyoming out of 44 honorees throughout the nation.
Hill said she is honored and completely surprised. And she’s happy that physical education and health is being recognized as an important subject for students.
“I teach students how important it’s to make healthy decisions for their life,” said Hill. “Without their health, they can't do anything. So really I think health and wellness is the center of education and students learning.”
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jillian Balow, presented the award. She said this is a big deal for the state.
“Wyoming hasn’t seen a Milken recipient for a number of years,” said Balow. “To have Milken to come in and take look at the great teaching going on in Wyoming and recognize teachers as underpinnings for educational success is a big deal, not just for the teachers and the school and the community where it happens, but for the whole state.”
The last time a Wyoming teacher received the award was in 2008. The Milken Educator award strives to recognize elementary and secondary school teachers from around the country who are furthering excellence in education.