Local teacher honored with prestigious national educator award

Laura Servin only teacher in Texas to receive Milken Educator Award

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio junior high teacher was honored on Thursday with the prestigious Milken Educator Award.

The national awards are often referred to as the Oscars of teaching.

"These awards say in a very public way that greatness in education should be recognized," said Gary Stark, the CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.

That's why the Texas governor, commissioner of education, two members of the State Board of Education and the CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching made a special visit to Whittier Junior High School Thursday morning.

"This morning, I was expecting just a typical pep rally, the band performing, the pep squad," said Laura Servin,  a Whittier Junior High School teacher.

Unbeknownst to the eighth-grade math teacher, these guests brought with them a very special surprise.

"You can't apply for this award. We find you," Stark said.

"I am about to announce one of the best teachers, not just at this school, not just in this state, but in the entire United States of America," Gov. Greg Abbott announced. “It is Laura Servin."

"I knew we have some important guests, but I had no idea they would be presenting me with this Milken Family Award today. So I am shocked and excited and, like I said, very humbled by this," Servin said.

Up to 40 teachers nationwide will be honored with the Milken Educator Award this year. Servin is the only teacher to receive one in Texas. She said it is her students who inspire her most.

"To my students, you make coming to work every day a dream come true," she said. “This is what being a teacher is all about. Not just a prize or award, but seeing the satisfaction on your faces when you set those high goals and you reach those goals. Seeing you come back after a couple of years and showing me your acceptance letters to colleges, these great careers you're going to start, and it begins here at Whittier."

Milken Award Winners are also presented with a $25,000 check to spend any way they would like. Servin isn’t quite sure how she is going to spend the money just yet but said she’s thinking of throwing her class a pizza party.