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Georgia Teacher Wins National Award and $25,000

 Media Contact:  - Susan Ely, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 463-1543, - To speak to the winning teacher, contact Susan Hale, Fulton County Schools,      A Fulton County middle school teacher won the "Oscar of Teaching" Tuesday, which includes a $25,000 prize he can spend however he wishes.     Greg Ott, a Language Arts teacher at Northwestern Middle School in Milton, is one of 54 educators nationwide to be named a Milken Family Foundation Educator of the Year. Neither Ott, his colleagues, nor his students knew he had been nominated for the award, until it was announced at an assembly this morning. State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox made the surprise announcement with Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Family Foundation.    "Greg Ott represents the very best in our teaching profession," Superintendent Cox said. "He engages his students by being creative, interactive, and entertaining, but his high expectations are unwavering. Best of all, he gets outstanding results from all of his students."      The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Awards provide recognition and unrestricted financial awards of $25,000 each to exceptional elementary and secondary school teachers, principals, and specialists who are furthering excellence in our nation’s schools. This year, alone, over $1 million in Milken Awards will be presented to up to 55 of America’s finest secondary educators. New Milken Educators also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Milken National Education Conference focused on solutions to America’s pressing challenges in education today. To learn more about the Milken Education Awards, visit the  foundation's website .    “Highly effective educators are the human capital that will equip America’s youth in this increasingly competitive global economy," said Lowell Milken, chairman and co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation. "By shining a national spotlight on these exceptional people, the Milken Educator Awards send a powerful message of the critical role that talented teachers play in preparing young people for a bright future.”      Superintendent Cox said: "For 23 years, the Milken Family Foundation has put a bright spotlight on the outstanding educators in Georgia and across the nation. The recognition and the money that comes with it is a way to emphasize the importance that educators have in preserving the future of our country. I am grateful to the Milken family for their commitment to education!"      Potential nominees for the award are gathered by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and presented to a blue ribbon panel of judges that includes members of GaDOE, the education community, and other stakeholders. The finalists were sent to the Milken Family Foundation, which chose the winner.    ABOUT GREG OTT     Greg Ott is a dedicated and passionate 7th grade language arts teacher who goes to great lengths to engage his students. In the words of one colleague, “Teaching is in his blood!” Mr. Ott is the teacher who arrives early and leaves late and did not miss one day of teaching in his first five years.  Mr. Ott’s school website  is a token of mastery and his commitment and creativity to connect students, parents, and educators to what transpires in his classroom. Mr. Ott has an inclusion classroom and is great at meeting the individual needs of his students. For instance, he was able to coach a student with Asperger's syndrome to success by anticipating his needs and giving him the special attention he needed.