Santa Barbara Junior High School teacher Marilyn Garza got a pleasantsurprise Thursday morning in the form of an unrestricted $25,000 awardduring a school assembly. The Milken National Educator Award waspresented to the eighth-grade math and physical science teacher byLowell Milken, co-founder of the Milken Family Foundation, anorganization aiming to improving the quality of K-12 education.

Also in attendance at the presentation were Milken Foundation boardmember Rosey Grier, State Superintendent Jack O’Connell, SuperintendentBrian Sarvis, Assembly Member Pedro Nava and SBJHS Principal JohnBecchio.

Garza is one of 80 recipients of awards to be distributed by thefoundation this school year. She is also a 2007-08 Santa Barbara CountyDistinguished Educator. She has been with Santa Barbara Junior High for 11 years.