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West LA Teacher Honored As Sole 2012 Milken Educator

WEST LOS ANGELES ( — A West Los Angeles elementary school teacher Friday received a prestigious award - and a hefty check - for her work both in and outside of the classroom.

KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports third-grade teacher Jackie Bonilla was named this year's sole California 2012 Milken Educator.

West L.A. teacher wins prestigious Milken Educator award

Bonilla, who teaches at Clover Elementary School, joined an elite group of about 2,500 educators who have received the award, which has been hailed as the "Oscars of Teaching" by Teaching Magazine.

She said she already knows what to do with her $25,000 grant: give it back to her students.

"I'm going to buy technology, and I'm going to put it into my classroom...for my children," Bonilla said.

During the 2011-2012 school year, 87 percent of Bonilla's students scored proficient or above in English language arts on the California Standards Test (CST) and 97 percent scored proficient or above in math — all at a National Blue Ribbon school where 30 languages are spoken.

Bonilla, who also serves as a Gifted And Talented Education (GATE)/Schools for Advanced Studies coordinator, has increased the numbers of underrepresented student populations in GATE and has been called a "21st-century teacher for a 21st-century learner."

But for Bonilla, the honor is secondary to the passion she has for seeing her students grow academically.

"I absolutely love what I do, I don't look at it as something I should receive an award for," she said.

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