NJ teacher surprised with prestigious educator award, $25K

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SECAUCUS -

A teacher in Secaucus was surprised Tuesday with a prestigious award.

Known as the "Oscars of education,” the Milken Educator Award honors outstanding educators.

New Jersey’s state education commissioner presented the award and $25,000 to Toni Ann Palmisano, who teaches math at Secaucus Middle School. She was one of 44 teachers across the country who received the honor.

Teachers do not apply for the Milken Educator Award, nor do they know if they are nominated for consideration.

Palmisano’s colleagues and students said she is a creative number cruncher who makes math fun by singing songs. She also spends her lunch hours with students leading extracurricular activities and is credited with helping the district raise its math assessment scores year after year.

“There's something to be said when you just come into the classroom, and it's just all about academics and you just open up the textbooks and you leave for the day. I could never be that teacher. Everything I do, I do it for you guys,” Palmisano said upon accepting her award.

She said she wants to invest the $25,000 into the school and its students.

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