SC teacher wins national honor, $25K prize - FOX Carolina 21

SC teacher wins national honor, $25K prize

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Shasta Looper is presented her check after winning the Milken award alongside Dr. Mick Zais and Jason Culbertson. (Nov. 12, 2012/FOX Carolina) Shasta Looper is presented her check after winning the Milken award alongside Dr. Mick Zais and Jason Culbertson. (Nov. 12, 2012/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate teacher was surprised to learn Monday morning when she won a national education award.

Shasta Looper, a fourth grade teacher at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School, won the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award and $25,000. The surprise announcement was made at a school-wide assembly attended by State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais and National Institute for Excellence in Teaching Chief Learning Officer Jason Culbertson.

The Milken award was created in 1985 and has been dubbed the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teaching Magazine.

Looper has taught for 13 years and has been a Greenville County Teacher of the Year finalist.

"I love to teach, and I'm still in the classroom because of the kids," Looper said after receiving the award. "And the days I go in and I'm not feeling at the top of my game, my kids make the biggest difference for me and so ... wow, I don't know what else to say."

The award recipients are selected based on their educational talent and instructional practices, their accomplishments, and being engaged in their school and communities.

Looper will travel to Los Angeles to receive the her award along with other recipients nationwide. She is the ninth teacher from the Greenville County School District to win the award since 1994.

A.J. Whittenberg was the first elementary school in the state with a school-wide engineering curriculum.

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