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Louisville teacher surprised with prestigious Milken Educator Award

The national award, known as the "Oscars of Teaching" recognizes teaching excellence. It also comes with a $25,000 check.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — One Louisville teacher received the surprise of a lifetime on Thursday for her work connecting students during the pandemic.

Jessica Goodman, a STEM lab educator at Farmer Elementary School, was honored with the prestigious Milken Educator Award during a school assembly.

She thought the assembly was going to be about Farmer's literacy efforts. "I had no idea," Goodman said. "I was shocked. I'm still in shock."

The national award, known as the "Oscars of Teaching" recognizes teaching excellence, and seeks to inspire educators, students and communities about the importance of joining the education profession. 

It also comes with a $25,000 check.

Goodman has taught at Farmer her entire career and is described by colleagues as a dedicated, hands-on teacher who creates fun, engaging lessons for students.

Her "Get Your Geek On" series gave students quirky science experiments they could do at home during remote learning.

As the school's technology coordinator, Goodman has worked to improve access to technology for all students and assisted both colleagues and students when there were difficulties with remote learning. 

Goodman is also the founder and coach of the school's Junior Beta robotics team and serves as the coach of Farmer's Quick Recall coach.

"I just love kids," she said. "That's what gets me up every morning."

Recipients of the Milken Award are not aware that they are nominated for the award. They are selected in their early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. 

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