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$25,000 Milken Award goes to Ala Wai Elementary educator

  • Video by Craig T. Kojima / ckojima@staradvertiser.com

    Sara King, Title 1 coordinator at Ala Wai Elementary, was awarded today with the Milken Educator Award. King is one of 33 educators nationwide to receive the award and the only one in Hawaii. The award also comes with a $25,000 check.

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Sara King, Title 1 coordinator at Ala Wai Elementary, receives a Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 prize check. Standing with her is Dr. Jane Foley, left, from the Milken Foundation, Gov. David Ige, and Hawaii first lady Dawn Amano-Ige, U.S. Rep. Ed Case, and Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

Sara King, a beloved teacher and school-wide coordinator at Ala Wai Elementary, received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award today at a surprise assembly.

When Gov. David Ige called her name, King put her hand over her face and the tears started flowing as hundreds of kids erupted in cheers.

“I was shocked and overwhelmed,” she said afterward. “I really think there’s so many teachers here that deserve this award, we have such an awesome teaching staff here, so I feel very fortunate that I was chosen.”

King, 32, spent seven years as a first-grade teacher at Ala Wai before becoming the school’s Title I coordinator, but only on condition that she continue to teach.

“She’s all heart and she loves her children,” Principal Michelle DeBusca said. “She’s always looking for ways to engage them… But I think what also makes her a special person is that she’s always helping her colleagues.”

“She’s having a greater impact now, getting to work with teachers and also helping our children across the whole school campus.”

The Milken Family Foundation’s educator awards have been dubbed the “Oscars” of teaching. They honor educators relatively early in their careers to highlight their achievements and spur them to greater heights.

King is one of 33 educators nationwide to receive the award this year and the only one in Hawaii. The recipients do not even know they have been nominated until the award is announced.

Read more in Tuesday’s Star-Advertiser.

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