FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. – Two teachers from Faulkner County were recognized Wednesday for their dedication to education.

On Wednesday, two educators at different school districts were surprised to receive this year’s Milken Educator Award which gifted them each $25,000. Both said the reward is the surprise of a lifetime.

Greenbrier sixth grade teacher Ashley Anderson said she thought she was attending a normal school assembly where the governor and local leaders would be present among the school body, but she had no idea it was all for her.

During the assembly, it was announced that Anderson was a recipient of the Milken Educator Award and received a check for $25,000. She was chosen because of her excellence in teaching. Anderson said she never imagined something like this would happen.

“When they said my name I was very shocked,” Anderson said. “I am overwhelmed but mostly I am so honored.”

With the award money, she said she can buy classroom necessities.

“First of all is like wow the classroom that could have and the materials I could have with $25,000, teachers don’t see that that often,” Anderson said.

The goal of the award is to show students why being a teacher is important, and to hopefully inspire them to one day become teachers.

“I think education in general we always focus on the kids which we should but it’s good to celebrate the teachers too and show what a good career this is,” Anderson said.

Andrew Harrison is a teacher from Mayflower Public Schools and he said he was also surprised during a school assembly with the award.

“I’m completely surprised,” Harrison said. “I was shocked and the students here are great and I love my students.”

When Harrison’s name was announced, his students were some of his biggest cheerleaders. HIs passion for being an educator is one of the reasons he was given the award.

“We know why we do it,” Harrison said. “But sometimes we don’t know if we feel appreciated by the outside world and what we do is important and it is valuable.”

Harrison said he is grateful for the award.

“I’ll probably do the responsible thing, me and my wife are expecting our second child, so just try to create a nest egg from that,” Harrison said.

The reward money is unrestricted which means those who receive it can use it how they wish.

Harrison and Anderson are the first two teachers from the county to receive the reward, both of them said they’re forever thankful.