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Release: Dec. 20, 2002

UI alumnus wins Milken Educator Award

University of Iowa College of Education alumna Shawn Carstensen Hays, a second-grade teacher at Pomona Elementary School in Grand Junction, Colo., is one of this year's recipients of a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

Since the program's inception in 1985, the Milken Educator Awards have recognized more than 1,800 elementary and secondary educators around the country who have demonstrated exceptional educational talent and accomplishment. Recipients are given an unrestricted financial award of $25,000.

Hays was surprised with the award announcement at a school assembly this fall. She will participate in the Milken Family Foundation National Education Conference in Los Angeles, Calif., April 26-29, where she will be awarded the $25,000 during a ceremony the last day.

"It is an incredible honor and quite humbling in many ways," Hays said. "There are many teachers I have respected over the years who I thought were deserving of the award,"

Hays said she will donate a portion of her award money to a charity that works with troubled children.

Hays earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the UI in 1989.