NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio-- A North Royalton middle school teacher is honored Thursday with what's known as one of the nation's most prestigious education awards and the 5th grade instructor had no idea what was coming.
The expression on Sarah Franko’s face tells it all; the science teacher was completely in shock after her name was called.
The middle school held a fake assembly so they could surprise Sarah with the Milken Educator Award in front of 1,100 cheering students and colleagues.
"I seriously share this with every single person who has influenced the way that I teach, the person that I am and I love all of you," said Franko.
Franko is the only teacher in Ohio to receive the prestigious award plus she gets a $25,000 check which she can use any way she likes.
She is one of 40 teachers selected out of 3 million to receive the award from the Milken Family Foundation. The foundation chose Franko because of her unique teaching style.
"We believe that she represents the top 1% of the profession because of her innovative practices. She has great results with her students. She is a leader in her profession. She is an unsung hero who has never been recognized before," said Dr. Jane Foley of the Milken Educator Awards.
The mother of 4 has been a teacher at North Royalton middle school for 14 years and she's known for her catchphrase at school: "What's best for the kids."
"The things I love most about my job are the kids and the way you see the light bulb go off and the way they look at you with just that appreciation for caring about them and wanting them to succeed," she said.
Students in Mrs. Franko’s class said she's not only a great teacher, she's also a role model.
"She brings fun into the classroom. We have so much laughter in science class. She is just so amazing. She really inspires me," said fifth grader, Emily Michalak.
Franko said she doesn't know exactly what to do with the money, but she feels that she will donate some of it back to North Royalton schools.