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Posted March 16, 2014

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Manzano Teacher Wins National Educator Award & $25,000 Prize

Andy Cook, a beloved foreign languages teacher and Manzano graduate, was surprised by the honor at a school assembly celebrating student success Friday.

Check out the slideshow from Friday's assembly.

It's referred to as the Academy Award for educators, and this year the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award goes to Andy Cook, a Spanish and Italian teacher at Manzano High School.

Cook was announced as the winner of the prestigious award during a school assembly in the Purple Pride gym where he received a hearty standing ovation.

Watch the video of Andy Cook learning he is a Milkin Award recipient.

"This school is family. The spirit here is like no other," Cook said upon receiving the award, which comes with a $25,000 prize. Cook is New Mexico's only Milken Award recipient this year.

Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the national foundation based in California, announced the surprise winner of the award during the assembly where she talked to students about the value of teachers. "We believe educators have the most important job in the country because they have the responsibility of preparing you for a bright future," she said.

Cook, who has been teaching in APS for 12 years, is widely regarded as a master of technology in the classroom. He serves as the department chair of modern and classical languages and works diligently with the school's professional learning community to train teachers in a variety of areas, from Common Core State Standards to the use of Promethean Boards. Cook was the first teacher in New Mexico to become a Nationally Board Certified Teacher of foreign languages.

He also is a member of the school's AVID site team and led his colleagues in the development of the Manzano Community Coalition to study anecdotal data and make recommendations for the future of the school that has seen increased rates of poverty, mobility and cultural diversity.

Cook is a popular, beloved teacher who has a quick wit and a pretty good singing voice, too, as the video below, poking fun of state testing, attests.

Testing Time from APS in Motion on Vimeo.

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