A Siouxland teacher won a very special award Thursday.
South Sioux City Middle School Teacher Jon Pickinpaugh won the Milken Educator Award today.
He had no idea he was going to receive the award at the start of today's middle school's assembly.
So when it was announced that he was not only receiving the award but, also getting a $25,000 check, he was in shock.
"It was a huge surprise. I thought we were coming in here to talk about the students' MAP scores, which they have been increasing over the last eight years that I've been here. I just was in shock. I thought I was in some sort of dream and I had to pinch myself to see if I was really awake and this was really in the gym and we were really doing this. It's crazy," says Jon Pickinpaugh, 8th grade Science teacher.
Pickinpaugh is the only teacher in the state of Nebraska this year to win the award.
And, he's just one of 44 educators across the country to get the honor.
It's considered one of the most prestigious awards in teaching.
"What a thrill to be able to be apart of this award ceremony to recognize an outstanding educator. Somebody who is really making a difference in the lives of these kids up here in South Sioux City. We're so proud of the South Sioux City School system and Jon Pickinpaugh in particular but, it's just a great day," says Lt. Gov. Mike Foley.
Pickinpaugh says he plans to donate some of the money from the award back to South Sioux City Middle School.