DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis, Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley, and Education Commissioner Dr. Katy Anthes presented a teacher with a special award and gift on Thursday morning.

Reina Cruz was surprised at an all-school assembly with the Milken Educator Award which highlights teachers that excel to take their students to new heights.

As the award is deemed, “The future belongs to the educated,” an unrestricted $25,000 prize was granted to the Northfield High School social studies teacher.

“Through her instructional expertise and passion for uplifting her students, Reina Cruz has crafted a space where students feel confident to assert their identity while developing the tools to pursue future goals,” Dr. Foley, who herself is a 1994 Milken Educator from Indiana, said. “I commend Reina for being a powerful advocate for her students, and proudly welcome her into the national Milken Educator Network.”

The last Denver Public Schools teacher to receive the award was in 2012. The award will be given to 60 educators this school year.

“There is no more important job than educating our next generation of leaders, and I am proud to congratulate Reina Cruz on this stunning achievement. There are few professions as noble as teaching and education, and Colorado is so proud to have an educator like Ms. Cruz,” Polis said.