VINTON, Va. (AP) — A Roanoke-area teacher has been given a prestigious award as part of a program that has been called the “Oscars of Teaching.”

News outlets report that officials surprised W.E. Cundiff Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Lindsay Murray with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award during a school assembly Wednesday in Vinton.

Murray is the only Virginian among the 35 educators in the U.S. receiving the award this year and the first-ever Roanoke County teacher chosen for the prize.

The Roanoke Times ( ) reports Murray’s students sneaked up behind her after the assembly and wrapped her in a hug.

The Milken Educator Awards is the oldest teacher recognition program of its kind in the nation. Now in its 30th year, the program has awarded more than 2,700 educators, totaling about $68 million.

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