PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- Awards season is in full swing. Not just for Hollywood stars - but for star teachers too.
Nichole Anderson, a Pasadena computer science teacher, was surprised Thursday with the $25,000 Milken Educator Award.
Of the 33 educators to receive the distinction this year, Anderson is the only one in California. She teaches at Hamilton Elementary School.
You're receiving this award today because we believe you have the potential to accomplish even greater things in the future," said Lowell Milken of the Milken Family Foundation.
Teacher magazine has called it the Oscars of teaching. It's about bringing attention to classroom heroes.
Anderson was surprised with the award at a school assembly.
"I am the lucky one here," she said. "I get to spend my time with you every week and know you. From the time you were in kindergarten until you leave in fifth grade.
And how will she spend the $25,000?
She says after 12 years of teaching, she still has student loans, so the money will help pay off that debt.
Pasadena teacher surprised with $25K Milken award