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      Georgia teacher wins a $25,000 surprise

      A Columbus teacher has become $25,000 richer after becoming Georgia's 2012 National Milken Educator of the Year.Lisa Bell, a Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy teacher in Muscogee County Schools, was named Georgia's 2012 National Milken Educator of the Year.

      The recognition comes from the Milken Family Foundation comes with a no-strings-attached cash prize of $25,000. Dr. Gary Stark, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, and State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge were among the leaders who participated in the surprise celebration.

      According to the release issued by the Georgia Department of education, the Milken Educator Awards program was conceived by Lowell Milken to recognize the importance of outstanding educators and encourage talented young people to enter the teaching profession.Today an exceptional teacher was given a well-deserved honor, said Superintendent Barge. I congratulate Ms. Bell and give my sincere appreciation to the Milken Foundation for using their resources for such a great cause " recognizing those who teach and inspire our students.Stay connected to MySouthWestGA.com as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!