Garner, N.C. — Tiffany Lachenmayr, a fourth-grade math and science teacher at Timber Drive Elementary School in Garner, was surprised with a national teaching award Wednesday.
Lachenmayr is among the nation's 40 most recent recipients of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, which comes with a $25,000 check, which she can use however she wants, and membership in a network of more than 2,500 past recipients from across the nation.
State Superintendent June Atkinson and other high-ranking school officials surprised Lachenmayr during a school assembly Wednesday morning.
"Tiffany's enthusiasm, creativity and connections she makes with each of her students are what bring them back to her classroom for visits long after they leave the fourth grade," Atkinson said. "Her colleagues and students alike benefit from her passion for education and her commitment to student success."
One-hundred percent of Lachenmayr's students scored at the proficient level in math for the 2011-12 school year and met growth targets.
She serves on the school's leadership team, reading/writing/math committees, student support team and iPad leadership team. She was named the Timber Drive Teacher of the Year in 2010-11. Lachenmayr also is National Board Certified teacher and has eight years of experience teaching the fourth grade.
She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004 and a master's degree in elementary education from Meredith College in 2010. She is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and served as the commencement speaker at Meredith College in May 2010.
An independent, blue ribbon committee appointed by each state's department of education selects the potential award recipients for submission to the Milken Foundation. Recipients can be elementary and secondary school teachers, principals or specialists.
The Milken National Educator Awards were established in 1985 to reward, retain and attract the highest caliber professionals for the nation's schools. The award alternates each year between elementary and secondary educators.
In the past 18 years, 46 North Carolina educators have received the award, sharing a total of $1.15 million. Nationally, more than $63 million has been awarded since the program's inception.