GLEN COVE, N.Y. (WABC) -- When English teacher Lauren Jensen walked into a school-wide assembly at Glen Cove High School Wednesday morning, she was not expecting it to be for her. Standing in front of students, colleagues, staff and community members of her hometown, Jensen was surprised to find her typical morning was about to be a monumental day in her life when she was presented with the prestigious Milken Educator Award.
The award, which has been described as "the Oscars of teaching" by Teacher magazine, is given to middle and high school educators in up to 40 schools around the U.S., with the perk of an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000.
Milken Family Foundation co-Founder Michael Milken presented the award to Jensen.
Watch her reaction in the video below:
"Lauren is a lifelong learner committed to improving the way English is taught and learned," Milken said. "She challenges her students to think more analytically and express themselves in writing more clearly and persuasively - core skills that endure for a lifetime."
A native of Glen Cove, Jensen was on a full research fellowship at NYU working towards her doctorate in education when she realized her passion was in the classroom, after teaching for nine years in Virginia. She returned to her hometown to teach 10th and 12th grade English Language Arts at Glen Cove High School.
Jensen is also the school district writing coach, and serves the Glen Cove community emphasizing the importance of professional development by targeting writing goals across elementary school curriculum. She has shared her teaching practices state- and nation-wide, and was even featured in a state-produced video highlighting her exemplary work towards Common Core Learning Standards.
Several of her students have even gone on to become teachers, citing her as an influence.
"Always the consummate professional, she believes every student can achieve if he or she is truly engaged. That belief is felt by all who work with her. We're happy to welcome her to the Milken Educator family," Milken said.
Photos in this story courtesy: Milken Family Foundation