- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

MADISON, Miss. (AP) - A Madison first-grade teacher has been chosen as one of 35 teachers nationwide to receive a $25,000 teaching prize.

Allison Ruhl was named a winner of the Milken Educator Award at Madison Station Elementary School. Ruhl is being honored in part for leadership. She helped develop first-grade assessments for Madison County and another district, and helped write a new first-grade and second-grade language arts curriculum for Mississippi.

Ruhl is also being hailed for her own teaching, helping students learn to read, write and speak. Of her students, 95 percent meet or exceed grade-level reading standards. She’s Mississippi’s only winner this year.

Gov. Phil Bryant, first lady Deborah Bryant and state Superintendent Carey Wright attended Wednesday’s surprise announcement.

The 30-year-old Milken awards recognize and financially reward teachers, principals and specialists nationwide.

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