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Roanoke Educator Wins "Oscars of Teaching"

Jeff Bossert/Radio IQ

A Roanoke teacher thought an assembly Thursday might be a celebration of the school’s success on SOL tests. Instead, it turned out to be a celebration of her.

Caroline Eschenbach is the only teacher in Virginia this year to win a Milken Educator Award.

Eschenbach teaches third grade reading at Virginia Heights Elementary. "I love making a difference in their life," Eschenbach said afterward.  "I feel like this is the best profession to make an impact with kids lives and to watch them grow.  And I love kids."

Eschenbach was congratulated by city and state officials as well as her 57 third grade students during the surprise ceremony.

The Milken Educator Awardhas been dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching.” Only 40 are awarded nationally each year. It comes with a $25,000 dollar prize.  Eschenbach wasn't sure what she will do with the money but said it will likely be reading-related.

Eschenbach has been teaching for about seven years and is a second-generation educator.  She said her mother taught for 20 years and passed down many of her materials and knowledge.

Jeff Bossert is Radio IQ's Morning Edition host.