A normal Wednesday morning turned into the surprise of a lifetime for an Andrew Jackson Elementary school teacher.
The Milken Foundation held an assembly to award 29-year-old Jayda Pugliese, a 5th grade science and math teacher at the school, with the honor that some call the “Oscar of Teaching.”
What makes the Milken Educator Award so special is the fact that there is no application process, all of those who receive this honor were chosen in a secretive process. In addition to the recognition from the organization as an outstanding teacher, Pugliese received $25,000.
“I’ve been dedicated to the schools in Philadelphia for a long time,” she said.
The daughter of an auto mechanic and a homemaker who worked at a McDonald’s to help support her daughter’s education, Pugliese attended St. Mary Interparochial School in Center City, then St. Maria Goretti High School.
Pugliese knows exactly what she’s going to do with the money: finish her doctoral studies. She had begun work toward a degree at Holy Family, where she also earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but had to stop.