Rachel Tonkovich, a teacher at Nellie F. Bennett School in Point Pleasant, has been awarded the Milken Family Foundation 2010 National Educator Award, an honor that includes a check for $25,000.
Tonkovich is one of 55 educations nationally to be recognized with the award for 2010.
Tonkovich was surprised at a school assembly. Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks praised Tonkovich in front of a cheering crowd of students and teachers.
"The state of New Jersey is extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful example of excellence in the classroom," Hendricks said. "A teacher's success is our children's success."
The money can be spent in any way Tonkovich wishes, and she will also go on an all-expense-paid trip to California to participate in a conference with other winners.
The Milken Educator Awards, conceived by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession, has grown to become the nation's preeminent teacher recognition program.
Including this year's selections, since 1987 over $62 million has been awarded to more than 2,500 educators. New recipients will join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators whose expertise serves as a valuable resource to fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others shaping the future of education.
— TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM