A San Marin High School teacher in California known for integrating science-themed raps into his curriculum was made momentarily speechless on Wednesday when he was given a prestigious educator award and a $25,000 cash prize.
Beaming from ear to ear, Nick Williams accepted the Milken Educator Award and the over-sized check in front of an audience of cheering students and colleagues. As he posed for pictures, he continually shook his head in what looked like shock and disbelief.
"I love teaching," he told the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation. "I love our community ... I'm so proud of the effort we've put in to make San Marin an excellent high school. And that starts with our exceptional students [and] the families who have raised these exceptional students."
Williams is one of only 40 teachers nationwide to be presented a 2015 Milken Educator Award. Dubbed "the Oscar for teachers," it's given to elementary and secondary instructors who innovate and inspire in the classroom.
When Williams is not busy posting videos of himself making educational science raps, he serves as the chair of the science and engineering department at the school. He also helped develop a STEM program based in Marin, and created a freshman course on earth science. And when the school couldn’t find a qualified math teacher, Williams volunteered to teach lower-level courses.
"By blending his creativity with his subject-based knowledge, Nick Williams finds ways to reach out to each and every one of his pupils, from the extremely gifted to those who may be struggling in school," said Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Lowell Milken. "His leadership has dramatically increased the number of young people enrolled in STEM courses, offering them a viable path to success in a 21st century economy."