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Somerset ISD Teacher Wins Prestigious Milken Educator Award

Louisa Jonas
Texas Public Radio
Amber Simpson in red alongside former Milken Educator Award winners from Texas

They call it the “Oscar of Teaching” and for the first time it’s going to a teacher at Somerset Independent School District in Bexar County. The prestigious Milken Educator Award also comes with a $25,000 cash prize.




Amber Simpson shed tears of joy when she got the news. The teacher at Barrera Veterans Elementary School said when they called her name, she thought she had heard them wrong.


“It never even occurred to me that this is what we were here for, was for the Milken Award,” Simpson says. “And then when they started mentioning it, I kept looking, who could it be, because we have so many fantastic teachers.”


Simpson is a master teacher who helps instruct other teachers how to instruct, mostly in the areas of math and science.


Gary Stark, President and CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, says, “To be selected, we do look at a teacher’s accomplishment in the classroom, their focus not only on the individual child, but on also on the performance of the children and in her classroom and that school in general.” Stark continues, “She’s been steadfast in doing the great work of an educator in her local community.”


Thirty-five Milken Educator Awards are being given out nationally this year. Simpson is the only teacher to receive the award in Texas.