Charlottesville Teacher Gets National Award And $25,000

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

October 12, 2006

Can you spell the word surprise? S-U-R, forget it, but one educator in Charlottesville knows how, and she has a check to prove it.

The principal got a national award which she never saw coming.

"The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award goes to Daphne Keiser," said Jane Foley of the Milken Family Foundation.

Out of nowhere an unsuspecting Charlottesville elementary school principal was recognized for her commitment to education.

"I am overwhelmed. This was such a huge surprise for me," said Burnley-Moran Elementary School Principal Daphne Keiser.

The principal of Burnley-Moran Elementary School thought she was hosting an assembly featuring State School Superintendent Dr. Bill Cannaday. Instead, it was a set-up, to honor her with the 2006 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. An award she did not apply for.

"There is a a review process with educators from all across the state. They do not know what the award is, but are identifying what the strong attributes of a person's experiences are," said Virginia State School Superintendent Dr. Bill Cannaday.

A national panel picks the winner.

Keiser was chosen for her work in the school and community along with her ability to inspire. The award has gone to unsung heroes since 1987.

"It also goes to people who are in their early, or mid-careers. We are trying to find educators who have just started their profession. We want to give them a very, very good strong incentive to stay in the profession," added Foley.

The national award comes with a $25,000 check. Winning it gets you a lot of money, but the value of the award goes further.

"It is a win for Daphne Keiser, for her teachers, her students, and her community. It is also a win for Charlottesville City Schools," said Charlottesville City School Superintendent Rosa Atkins.

Keiser said she intends to spend a good portion of the $25,000 on getting a broadcast studio and science lab for her school.

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