This Randolph teacher was surprised with a national teaching award and $25,000

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Taylor Thai, who works at Donovan Elementary School, won the prestigious award Wednesday.

In the gym of the Donovan Elementary School, Randolph, Taylor-Thuy Huynh-Thai, an exceptional Randolph teacher received the surprise of a lifetime with an unrestricted $25,000 Milken Educator Award. David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Randolph teacher Taylor Thai was surprised with a national Milken Educator Award and $25,000 for her work in the classroom.

Thai teaches multilingual kindergarten and first grade students at Donovan Elementary School and was given her award in a surprise ceremony Wednesday in front of her colleagues, students, media, and education officials.

Thai said the surprise left her speechless, according to reporting by WBZ.

“We are grateful to teachers like Mrs. Thai who have worked hard to support students, especially given the challenges of the past two years,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement. “The pandemic created learning challenges for all students, especially English language learners, and dedicated teachers like Mrs. Thai make a huge difference as we address those challenges and work together to ensure kids get the education they deserve.” 

The Milken Family Foundation awards educators who serve as a model for the nation. This award is frequently called the “Oscars of teaching” according to the foundation’s website.

When Thai began working at the school there was no English language learners (ELL) program for multilingual students, so she worked with the English Learner Department to create a curriculum that is now in use.

Thai is known for the “magic” she works with her students, according to a statement.

As teaching became remote due to COVID-19 Thai delivered materials to students’ homes and organized a drive-by parade to connect students and faculty.

“Whatever the challenge, Thai is eager to find a solution,” read the statement.

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