A Rapid City educator has joined an elite club.
Fourth grade teacher Alayna Siemonsma received the surprise of a lifetime Tuesday morning when she was presented the prestigious Milken Award. She is the only teacher in the state of South Dakota to receive this national honor that comes with $25,000 in cash.
The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding educators and inspire students to become teachers.
Siemonsma, a 15-year teaching veteran, is the literacy leader at South Park Elementary.
She said she loves coming to work everyday because of the students and her talented colleagues.
"I love working with my colleagues and enjoy coming to work each and every day and I think any colleague here would deserve this same award. I think all teachers do," Siemonsma said.
Siemonsma implemented South Park's Balanced Literacy Program. She is credited with raising math scores more than 15 points.