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A dedicated Athens teacher got a big surprise on Tuesday.

Kevin Winters received the $25-thousand dollar Milken Educator Award. The national teacher recognition program honors teachers who demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in education.

Winters is the master teacher of the System for Teacher and Student Advancement program at Athens Middle School.

He says he's humbled by the recognition.

"I'm surrounded by other people who are just as committed to excellence as I am. I believe it's a testament to our great leadership, both in the school and in the system. I have the world's best teachers to collaborate with, the world's best principal to work with," said Winters.

Winters say students at the school have shown a 10% jump in math proficiency since the TAP program was put in place. He does not yet know how he will spend his award.

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