SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Santa Fe teacher got the surprise of a lifetime Wednesday.

During a school assembly, Melissa Kovac of Santa Fe’s Amy Biehl Community School was honored for her work as an educator. But what she didn’t know was that she would receive $25,000 as part of the Milken Educator Award.

The prestigious honor is described as the “Oscars of teaching.” Kovac says she’s thankful for the opportunity.

The Milken Award is presented at up to 35 schools nationwide each year.