Carson teacher awarded $25,000 |

Carson teacher awarded $25,000

Philanthropist Michael Milken asked Eagle Valley Middle School sixth-graders to define a surprise.

“It’s kind of hard to explain,” said Ariel Sanchez, 11. “It’s just like, ‘wow.'”

It was the definition social studies teacher Julie Reid relied on when she was surprised during a Thursday morning assembly with a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation award.

“This is definitely a wow,” she said. “It’s an honor – I love teaching.”

To preserve the element of surprise, teachers and students were told they were meeting for an assembly on school safety. Once there, they were introduced to Milken, who explained why the Milken Family Foundation National Education Award was created 20 years ago.

“I believe that teachers, principals and administrators have the most important jobs in our country,” he said. “Just one teacher has the chance to influence thousands of lives. We needed to create awards to let everyone in the world know how important they are.”

Each year, the foundation selects 100 teachers nationwide through an intensive, yet discreet, search for the award.

Teachers are not notified when they are being considered nor are they notified if they are chosen.

Although Reid said she was “shocked” to receive the award, Principal Fred Mariani was not.

“She’s absolutely deserving,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to see her recognized.”

As Milken prepared to announce the winner, students created a drum-roll effect by stomping their feet on the bleachers. When Reid’s name was announced, students rose for a standing ovation and chanted, “Mrs. Reid, Mrs. Reid.”

“She’s the best teacher,” said Chelsea Cluff, 11. “She’s really positive and she helps us in any way she can.”

Reid, 34, is in her tenth year of teaching at Eagle Valley Middle School, and is the third teacher to receive the award at that school.

Eagle Valley Middle School science teachers Eric Anderson and Chris Whitcome are former Milken Award winners, as is Jessica Daniels, vice principal at Mark Twain Elementary School.

Teachers are selected for excellence and innovation, a description Reid’s students say she fits.

“She has the funnest projects,” said Erica Knutson, 12. “We get to make pyramids of Egypt out of papiermache.”

Reid is married to Jim Reid, and they have two children, Casey and Corey. She will travel to Washington, D.C., later this year to meet with other award winners and is free to use the $25,000 award in any way she wishes.