Whitman Elementary teacher wins Milken Educator award

Janet Do, a first-grade teacher at Whitman Elementary School, reacts to winning the Milken Educator Award on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. (KATU Photo)

A first-grade teacher at Whitman Elementary School in Southeast Portland got a huge award Monday, and she had no idea it was coming her way.

A stunned and overwhelmed Janet Do accepted the $25,000 Milken Educator Award.

The 29-year-old’s approach to teaching has been turning heads in Portland Public Schools.

Her energized lessons are known to include songs and chants to help kids more easily learn concepts.

She also calls her students scholars, and under her instruction most of them made a year and a half leap in their reading level.

"Seeing their faces every day and taking the risks they do with reading and writing. ... I love the community that I build with students and the families. I try to honor where they are, ... the collaboration that we have," Do said.

The Milken Family Foundation awards about 40 teachers a year across the country.

Do was Oregon’s only recipient this year.

When asked what she’ll do with the $25,000, she said she’ll buy some books.

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