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Posted: January 22, 2015

Lavaland Teacher Wins Distinguished Milken Award

Shannon Ryan is the 2015 Milken Educator Award winner for New Mexico. She also happens to be the daughter of previous Milken winner Tom Ryan.

Milken award winners Shannon Ryan and her father, Tom.

Shannon Ryan, a fifth grade teacher at Albuquerque Public Schools Lavaland Elementary, is the 2015 Milken Educator Award winner for the state of New Mexico. The award, which carries a $25,000 cash prize, was presented to Ryan during a surprise assembly at the school Thursday, Jan. 22.

“Shannon Ryan is a wonderful educator and we are extremely proud of her,” said APS Superintendent Brad Winter. “She is doing exemplary work here at Lavaland and the fifth graders are directly benefiting from her expertise.”

Ryan has been a teacher in APS since 2003, with all those years at Lavaland. She makes certain that students and their parents are kept informed of what is expected of them by posting assignments on her webpage and regularly communicating with them throughout the year.

In accepting the award, Ryan said she was very surprised. “I’m humbled and shocked,” Ryan said, adding that she could not do her job of teaching students without her colleagues and the staff at Lavaland. “Thanks for you’ve done for me and for this school,” she said

Ryan added a special thank you to her dad and “all his good advice.”

Ryan’s father Tom was a long-time educator in APS and was himself a Milken Award winner in 1999 when he was principal at Del Norte High School.

“For your own daughter to win is just overwhelming,” said Ryan, who was in the school gym hiding in a closet before the presentation so his daughter would not be tipped off to the award. “I guess now I have to take advice from her.”

Jane Foley of the Milken Foundation, who introduced Ryan, noted that teachers cannot apply for the award and there are no nominations. “We find these excellent teachers, we surprise them and we give them a financial award,” Foley told the students, staff and district officials gathered for the announcement.

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards alternate each year between elementary and secondary educators. Last year's New Mexico winner was Andy Cook, a foreign language teacher at Manzano High.

Since first presented in1987 to 12 exemplary California teachers, the Milken Educator Awards program is now the nation’s largest teacher recognition program having honored more than 2,600 educators from coast to coast with over $65 million.

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