Former Mitchell teacher recalls receiving Milken Award in 2003

Published: Jan. 5, 2017 at 10:34 PM CST
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The Mitchell School District is celebrating one of its teachers who received the surprise of her life, Wednesday, during an all-school assembly.

As KSFY News first reported, Wednesday, Amanda Christensen was recognized as one of roughly 30 Milken Educator Award recipients nationwide and even took home a $25,000 cash prize to spend as she chooses. What's just as special, there was another teacher in the building who knows that excitement firsthand.

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced the unsuspecting forth grade teacher's name at Longfellow High School during an all-school assembly. Sherri Becker, who is no stranger to this surprise, was also there.

"I won this award in 2003. Prior to that, I had never heard of the Milken Foundation. It was a huge surprise," Sherri Becker said.

She was an 8th grade language arts teacher. Today, she's a curriculum director for the Mitchell School District.

"Now in Mitchell since I received this award, other people were around at that time and know what the foundation is all about. So when they heard, they knew," Sherri said.

She quickly realized she's in a special place. Having grown up in a military family, Sherri has been around to several school districts.

"We went from Omaha to Seattle, to Texas and to Kansas. I've seen a lot of districts, far and away, Mitchell School District is above average," she said.

This award is not only an honor for the teacher who receives it, but for the school district, as it speaks highly of the administration.

"The superintendent empowers the principals and other administrators who empower all of their teachers. That's what makes Mitchell different. Not holding down or holding back but empowering them to be all they can be," Becker said.

To see our original story upon Amanda Christensen recognition, visit the related link attached to this page.