NYC Teacher Wins ‘Oscars of Teaching' Award, $25,000

While this wasn’t for her work on a film, a Bronx science teacher won an award that educators say is on par with an Academy Award.

Metropolitan Soundview High teacher Aja Brown was stunned to find out she was one of 45 teachers nationally to receive a Milken Award -- also known as 'the Oscars of Teaching' -- when she walked into raucous cheers during a surprise school assembly.

“I had no idea – I would have done my hair if I knew,” she said.

The Milken Award -- which teachers can only be nominated for -- honors educators for their excellence, and Brown was recognized for her efforts in creating a new science curriculum for grades 6-12.

To her ninth grade students in her living environment class, the award came as no surprise. 

"When I heard Ms. Brown won I was like, 'Oh, that’s one of my favorite teachers,'" said Jahmari Nesbeth, 14. "I was so excited for her."

Aniya Maldonado, 14, added, "I've been here only a short amount of time, but out of all my teachers, she sticks out to me."

Besides national recognition, the Milken Award comes with another perk – a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize. That means Brown will be able to spend it any way she likes.

“I can’t think about it right now, I didn’t expect it and so I didn’t have any plans for it. It’ll be put to good use,” Brown said.

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