In a surprise assembly today, Chayna Adams of Pearl River Central High School (PRCHS) in Carriere, Mississippi, received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award. A former math teacher at the school, Adams now serves as lead teacher, building on her acute ability to identify and reinforce teacher and student strengths while using data to drive growth.Milken Educator Awards Senior Director Greg Gallagher and Mississippi Department of Education Director of Educator Talent Acquisition and Effectiveness Dr. Courtney Van Cleve surprised Adams with the honor before cheering students, colleagues, state and local officials, and the media. Adams is the only educator in Mississippi and among more than 60 nationwide to be recognized with the Award during the 2021-2022 school year. She is the first educator to receive the Award in the Pearl River County School District.Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” the Milken Educator Awards celebrate, elevate and activate the American teaching profession and inspire young, capable people to join it.“An important quality of an instructional leader is leveraging talents of the team to advance teaching and learning for all,” said Gallagher. “Chayna Adams’ experience in bringing out the best in others serves her well in her current role helping to drive instruction and improvement across Pearl River Central High School. We congratulate her and look forward to the value and insights she will bring to the national Milken Educator Network.”The Milken Educator Award is not a lifetime achievement honor. Recipients are heralded while early to mid-career for what they have achieved — and for the promise of what they will accomplish given the resources and opportunities inherent in the Award.“As a lead teacher, Ms. Adams serves as a model for her peers and works daily to elevate and strengthen the teaching profession,” said Dr. Courtney Van Cleve. “She is a worthy recipient of this year’s Milken Award. I join her students, school and community in congratulating her for this accomplishment.”State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright added her congratulations: “Ms. Adams has done an extraordinary job challenging her students to meet and exceed high academic standards. She is a wonderful example of our dedicated Mississippi educators who work hard every day to help students learn and succeed.”Oprah, a longtime education advocate, offered her congratulations to this year’s winners in a video message shared earlier this year thanking “the most incredible educators around the country” and acknowledging her deep appreciation for the “tireless work” they do.