BAKER, W.Va. (WDVM) — A West Virginia High School teacher was honored with a national award today and left $25,0000 richer.

Mentor, passionate, and caring are the words students at East Hardy High School use to describe one of their favorite teachers here at East Hardy High School. And they say this award is well deserved. 

“It’s just so easy to create a bond with her compared to the other teachers,” said Lilly Riggle. “She always goes above and beyond for every student and it’s more on a personal level,”

East Hardy High School teacher Michelle Wolfe received the first Milked Educator Award of 2022.

“They are in the profession that’s making all other professions possible and so we’re here to celebrate their excellence too,” said Stephanie Bishop, Vice-President of the Milken Educator Award.

The award is designed to inspire and uplift the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues, and communities. 

In the past 12 years, Wolfe has dedicated her life to her students.

“Teaching is it’s a heart and soul and body and mind whole profession and so I’m just glad and blessed and thankful,” said Wolfe.

She leaves a mark on each of her students.

“Occasionally, a kid will send me a note or contact me after they’ve graduated and let me know that I’ve made a difference in that way. But I don’t know if they know how much of a difference that makes to hear,” said Wolfe.

Wolfe was also awarded a $25,000 check.

“I definitely want to find a way to get back somehow, whether we can set up a scholarship or figure out what we can do with the kids’ something fun because this is all for them. So I want to make sure that they’re part of it,” said Wolfe.

Her students agree.

“She deserves it completely,” said Caitlyn Ward.

“Ms. Wolfe embodies the purpose and passion of today’s effective educator. She has knocked down the walls of her classroom and school to extend learning to far reaches of the world,” said Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “Her lessons and learning experiences create sparks among her students that have profound impacts. She has given them one of the most important gifts possible – a love of learning and a vision for their future.”

Wolfe will also get the opportunity to network with other award recipients across the country to share ways to improve the education system.

“More individualized, more personalized education, definitely something I want to see for public education,” said Wolfe.

Several more Milken Educator Awards will be given out to teachers across the country this year.