Harrisburg educator wins 'Oscar of Teaching'

Published: Jan. 4, 2018 at 10:01 AM CST
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A Harrisburg teacher has won the prestigious "Milken Educator Award," along with the $25,000 prize that goes with it.

Carla Diede is the latest South Dakota teacher to earn the award. She was named in a surprise ceremony at Harrisburg Middle School Thursday morning.

Diede is a math teacher at Harrisburg South Middle School. She helps lead the school's personalized learning initiative. In addition to her focus on personalizing math education for her students, she also serves as a liaison to parents of incoming middle school students, helping them understand the options available to their children.

“Carla just does whatever it takes,” said Harrisburg South Middle School Principal Darren Ellwein, via a press release. “I’ve worked with her for a number of years, and she has always gone above and beyond for students. She’s passionate about her subject matter and finding the most effective ways to use technology to enhance instruction. She is integral in our personalized learning track for our school and district. She leads professional development and supports all our teachers. I’m thrilled to see her recognized with this award.”

The Milken Educator Awards program was created by the Milken Family Foundation. Teacher magazine called the ward the "Oscar of Teaching." The honor will be presented at up to 44 schools during the 2017-18 school year. More than $138 million in funding, including $68 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the program, which includes professional development opportunities throughout recipients’ careers.

Since South Dakota joined the Milken Educator Awards program in 2002, a total of $500,000 has been awarded to 20 South Dakota recipients.