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Surprise! Miami Teacher Receives $25K Milken Education Award

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KENDALE LAKES (CBSMiami) -- A South Florida teacher received the surprise of a lifetime Friday as he was honored with the Milken Educator Award and a $25,000 prize.

Dale Adamson, a math teacher at Howard D. McMillan Middle School in Kendale Lakes, is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Florida this year and is among the 44 honorees for 2017-2018.

Flanked by Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho (left) and Howard D. McMillan Middle School Principal Hilca Thomas, Milken Educator Award recipient Dale Adamson listens to the enthusiastic ovation from his students and colleagues. (Credit: Milken Family Foundation)

But here's the best part. It was all kept a secret until Friday morning when he was honored at a surprise student assembly attended by students, school administrators, county and state representatives and Miami-Dade County School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

Recipient Dale Adamson (FL '17) gets a hand with his oversized $25,000 check from veteran Milken Educators. (Credit: Milken Family Foundation)

The Milken Educator Award is hailed by Teacher magazine as the 'Oscars of Teaching'.

Adamson left medical school to become a teacher and has been at Howard D. McMillan Middle School for six years alongside his mother who has been a teacher at the school for 22 years and his sister who joined the teaching staff about a year ago.

Real-world connections and hands-on teaching methods are hallmarks of Adamson's educational practices in the classroom and beyond. Whether he is integrating technology to amp student interest, actively boosting minority student STEM engagement or involving families and the community in rocketry experiments, Adamson is finding ways to solve the surprisingly complex equation of middle-school education.

He says the best part of teaching is doing it every single day.

"The moment when they do something absolutely blows you out the water. They come up with ideas that you could never have thought of. When they understand a difficult concept right off the bat and even when they don't when they struggle through and push through it and persevere it's such a rewarding feeling," he explained.

Adamson says he is surrounded by other extraordinary teachers and feels privileged to have received the award.

His mother and sister were in tears.

"I feel like one of the luckiest people around," said his mother Dr. Karen Adamson. "Not many people will get to have adult children so involved in their work life and home life and we all really work together and support each other through a really great experience," said his mother Dr. Karen Adamson.

Adamson says he is going to use the money to go back to school

The Milken Educator Award is an initiative of the Milken Family Foundation. For 30 years, they have rewarded and inspired excellence in the world of education by honoring top educators around the country with $25,000 unrestricted awards. The Milken Educator Award targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future.

To date, more than 2,700 Awards have been given out, totaling $68,000 million.

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