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Maywood schoolteacher receives national award

November 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Think back to when you were in school: Remember getting a surprise "pop quiz?" A Maywood teacher got a surprise "pop award" Wednesday.Students and teachers at Maywood Elementary School thought they were attending a routine school assembly Wednesday morning until a special guest showed up: Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation.

"I have a secret I want to share with every one of you this morning," said Milken.

That secret? The announcement that someone on the Maywood Elementary School staff was about to receive a big award.

The $25,000 Milken Educator Award is given to 55 of the top teachers, principals and specialists in the country. The prestigious honor has been called the "Oscar" of teaching and is always delivered during an assembly to an educator who has no idea what they're in for.

"It gives me great pleasure to present the Milken Educator Award to a truly outstanding teacher: Tamara Garfio," said Milken.

"It was amazing! It was shocking and amazing, it feels good," said Garfio. "I love my job and I know I'm in the right profession, so to be rewarded for that is an awesome feeling."

By all accounts, the 3rd-grade teacher is raising the bar at Maywood, not only for her students but for her peers as well.

"She's a great teacher, she helps all of us here. She's just amazing," said student Nicolas Gudino.

"She really gives teachers great ideas that they can go back and implement," said Maywood Elementary School Principal Lupe Hernandez.