Maria Ung, a Science teacher at Essex High School, was surprised at an all-school assembly Monday with a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.Commissioner Vilaseca was joined by Dr. Jane Foley, Senior Vice President of the Milken Family Foundation, in presenting the award. Principal Rob Reardon convened the visit to the school without disclosing the true purpose, as required by Milken. An educator at Essex High School for eight years, Ung was recognized for being a role model to her students, especially young women, who are interested in science. She serves as the Science co-chair at Essex and as the varsity cheerleading coach. ‘Maria’s work to date has demonstrated excellence in teaching and leadership,’ said Principal Reardon. ‘Her knowledge, conscientious approach, work ethic and desire is a formula that is conducive to a long, productive career in education.’ State Departments of Education recommend candidates to the Foundation. This was the seventh year that Vermont has participated in the awards process. Milken Educator Award recipients may use their unrestricted $25,000 award in any way they wish. First awarded in 1987, the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards were created to reward, retain and attract the highest quality K-12 educators to the profession. This year Milken awarded 40 new Milken Educator Awards in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Ung will also travel to Los Angeles in April to the Milken Educator Awards National Conference. http://www.mff.org/(link is external).