Golden Apple | Janna Hamrick

Fifth grade teacher Janna Hamrick, a Milken Award winner, is our latest Golden Apple recipient.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:23 PM EST
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PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - While we have good teachers in schools across our three states whom we name our Golden Apple winners, one stands out from the rest.

Fifth-grade teacher Janna Hamrick was honored on a national level. WSAZ’s Rob Johnson reports she’s really cashing in on that.

With the entire Rock Branch Elementary School at the assembly and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice making the announcement, Hamrick was named a Milken Award winner.

“I’m just in shock,” Hamrick said at the time.

The award came with $25,000 to spend any way she likes -- a way to say “thank you” for her teaching excellence at Rock Branch Elementary.

“The Milken Educator Award recognizes the top one percent of educators in our country,” said Stephanie Bishop with the Milken Family Foundation. “We are looking for educators who are innovators and make an impact on their community.”

Hamrick broke down in tears when she heard the news, but she had the support of her daughter Caroline who is a first-grader at her school.

“It makes me emotional because she is one of the reasons I do it,” Hamrick said.

Her coworkers are amazed by her energy in the classroom. They say she just bounces around the room like it’s a workout every day. And it’s why we honored her as our latest Golden Apple recipient.

“I pour my heart and soul into my job,” she told us. “Every single day. Every single day, I come in here because I love the kids. I invest in them daily. Because of that passion and, if I have that passion, they give me that love in return. And so they are willing to do anything. So when i set the bar high, they go higher.”

Now she’s part of the Milken team and will be asked to help lead education in our country by getting an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles to take part in a national teacher summit -- hopefully creating the next generation of Janna Hamricks.