SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Springdale teacher was awarded $25,000 for his excellence in education on Tuesday morning during a school assembly, according to a press release.

Hellstern Middle School sixth and seventh grade math teacher Michael Tapee received the 2023-24 Milken Educator Award from Milken Family Foundation co-founder Lowell Milken.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Department of Education Secretary Jacob Oliva were in attendance to help surprise Tapee with the award.

“I created the Milken Educator Awards more than three decades ago to say in a public way that greatness in education should be celebrated, recognized and rewarded. Michael Tapee has not only exceeded academic expectations with his students, but has also instilled in them a deep sense of enthusiasm, curiosity and discovery that they will carry through their journey of learning and life,” said Milken.

The Milken Educator awards are considered the “Oscars of Teaching,” according to the release. He is one of 75 that will receive the honor this school year.