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LEON, Iowa- A Central Decatur Teacher has been awarded the 2017-18 Milken Award for Teaching Excellence.

The surprise announcement came as Master Teacher, Joni Readout, was given the recognition, which comes with a $25,000 check.

The Milken Award means an educator, with the potential to be a leader in the education profession for decades to come, and an educator that is an unsung hero,” said Gary Stark, CEO of the National Center for Excellence in Teaching.

Readout is one of 44 Milken, honorees for 2017-18. She is a native of Weldon, IA. She went to high school at Clarke Community in Osceola, and graduated in 2009 from Iowa State University. She knew she wanted to teach when she was in high school

“Teaching swimming lessons and mentoring students, I loved the impact that I could have one on one with children and helping them to the lightbulb moment that educators talk about,” said Readout. “I knew that I wanted to pursue this career, every single day I see lightbulbs.”

Readout is a Master Teacher at Central Decatur. She helps to mentor other teachers, work with lesson plans, and teaches in the classroom.

“I believe in each and everyone of you in the success that you will have because of the amazing teachers that you have at CD,” said Readout when accepting the award at a school assembly. “Don’t forget to thank them for the work that they’re doing.”