A Dallas ISD Spanish teacher has won $25,000 for being one of the best teachers in the country. Susan Moreno from J.L. Long Middle School is the only Milken Educator Award winner in Texas.
J.L. Long's Middle School auditorium was packed. Teachers and students thought the assembly was a celebration of the school’s dual language and International Baccalaureate programs. Cheerleaders cheered, the band played and even the Texas Education Commissioner was there.
Then Jane Foley, with the Milken Family Foundation, said they were all really there to award one teacher with $25,000 for being among of the nation’s best teachers.
“The Milken Educator Award goes to Susan Moreno,” boomed Foley, followed by raucous cheers and applause.
Shocked and crying, Susan Moreno walked on stage, posed with officials and her giant check.
"Thank you very much to the Milken Foundation, to all the previous winners, to my school, my students, my co workers," Moreno said.
She’s been at Long for six years and had no clue about this.
“All of a sudden my students around me, they’re like, ‘Miss you’re going to get it!’ And I said ‘No, no it’s OK.’ I did not even see this coming,” Moreno said. “I didn’t know there was a foundation like this out there, that just, you know, surprises teachers. Everybody always wishes this would happen to them, especially as an educator, because we’re always there for our students and we know we give 110% for them. But to be able to actually receive it is a whole other world.”
In Moreno’s world, she was raised by her mom, who encouraged education but knew little about college.
“Now that I know the steps to get students to college, they need to have those teachers at school. They need to have teachers that believe in them. And that’s like the most important factor, because if they see someone believes in them, they know they can achieve better,” Moreno said.
She feels better figuring she’ll use some of the money to pay off her education. But figures some of it will likely go right back into her classroom.