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Bellevue teacher awarded $25,000 for his exceptional impact as an educator

Jacob Eitzen is the second teacher to be awarded the Milken Educator Award in over two decades.
Posted at 7:07 PM, Nov 16, 2023

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — It wasn’t your average school day for a Bellevue West High School teacher, instead it was a moment ten years in the making for math teacher Jacob Eitzen Thursday, and it came as a complete surprise.

Eitzen is the latest recipient of the Milken Educator Award, which recognizes exceptional educators across the country.

Eitzen was selected by The Milken Family Foundation, he’s the second teacher in the district to receive the honor.

“The opportunity to impact young lives for the next generation for the future and shaping those minds, that’s to me where the bigger reward is,” said Eitzen.

Eitzen teaches Algebra II, AP Statistics and AP Calculus.

Bellevue West's AP Statistics class has quadrupled in size since Eitzen became the teacher, and over half his students consistently do well on AP exams.

The winner of the Milken Educator Award, receives among other things, a cash prize of $25,000.

“It’s been a shock but it’s been very humbling,” said Eitzen. “I’m very grateful and thankful and grateful for the opportunity to represent the community and the school in this way.”

While he may not know exactly what he’s going to do with the money, Eitzen will likely share it with his whole family. His wife was the first person he called to share the good news.

“She was very surprised,” he said. “I don't know what she’s thinking right now, she's at home with our three kids and they’re probably celebrating.”

In addition to the $25,000, Eitzen will receive an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles. The Milken Awards are considered to be “The Oscars” of teaching; 75 educators will be given the same recognition nationwide this school year.

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