PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – A Putnam County elementary school teacher has been honored with a national award.

According to the West Virginia Department of Education, Rock Branch Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Janna Hamrick was surprised with the Milken Educator Award, which includes a $25,000 financial award, during an all-school assembly. The WVDE says part of the surprise was that Hamrick did not know she was a candidate for the award!

Milken Educator Awards Vice President Stephanie Bishop, West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Michele L. Blatt and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice presented the award to Hamrick.

“Talented teachers hold high expectations while maintaining a high level of student engagement, passion and respect. Janna Hamrick executes this task flawlessly and serves as a role model for others,” said Bishop. “The Milken Educator Network will provide her with further opportunities to grow and will in turn benefit from her knowledge. Congratulations, Janna!”

Considered the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Award is presented to elementary and secondary teachers, principals and specialists throughout the United States who work to further excellence in education. The award was created by Lowell Milken and first presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987.

The WVDE says Hamrick received the award because her “innovative approach to education contributes to the high achievement growth of fifth grade students at Rock Branch Elementary School.” Officials say her energy in the classroom is motivational for her students and her involvement in the school plays a major role in its success.

According to the WVDE, Hamrick is a Marshall University graduate. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education K-6 in 2008 and a Master of Arts in secondary math education 5-9 through Algebra 1 in 2011.

At Rock Branch, Hamrick serves on the leadership team, is a member of the intermediate professional learning community and participates on the student assistance team and safety committee. She is also a member of the local school improvement council and builds relationships between the school and local organizations and businesses.