Two Iowa educators are among one-hundred from across the nation who will be honored at a black-tie event in Los Angeles tonight. Both are recipients of 25-thousand dollar checks as part of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards. Paula Olson teaches first grade at Phenix Elementary School in West Des Moines. She says she’s still asking “why me” when she looks around and realizes where she is standing. Olson says she cares about the social behavior and family lives of her kids, not just academics. She says she’ll go to their ball games, dance recitals, music programs and other events to stay involved and “connected.” Olson has been teaching 16 years and has two kids of her own, a daughter in sixth grade and a son in third. She says being a mother has helped her become a better teacher.Olson says the 25-thousand dollar unrestricted cash award will come in very handy.She says it’ll go into a college fund for her kids, in addition to “something special” for her school. The other winner from Iowa is Ying Ying Chen, principal of Prairie Crest Elementary School in Cedar Rapids. The Milken Awards were established in 1985 to attract and retain quality educators.
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