DEDICATION PAYS OFF TEACHER RECEIVES MILKEN HONOR.
VALLEY VILLAGE -- Teacher Beverly Yachzel sat among her second- and third-graders during a morning school assembly Monday, unaware of what was about to happen.
The event at the Beth Hillel Day School seemed routine enough, except a well-dressed special guest kept talking about the importance of a teacher on a child's life.
``We don't always think of teachers as people who do so much for us,'' said Richard Sandler, vice president for the Milken Family Foundation, which among other programs provides public recognition to school teachers, principals and other education professionals who stand out.
``The most important award we should give is for teachers,'' Sandler said. ``There isn't one, and that's not right.''
And then, in a ``This Is Your Life'' kind of moment, Sandler presented Yachzel with the Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award, one of five handed out Monday. The honor includes a $10,000 prize.
A modest smile swept over Yachzel, whose eyes watered as the children clapped.
``I'm just totally overwhelmed, surprised and elated,'' she said. ``I always love coming to this school. This school is like home. It's a wonderful pleasure.''
Since 1990, the Milken Family Foundation has selected teachers from 37 Hebrew schools across Los Angeles to be honored each year. Yachzel's award represented the first for the Beth Hillel Day School, which also is celebrating its 13th anniversary, or as Sandler called it, its bar mitzvah.
School Head Director Fanny Levy said Yachzel was nominated because her commitment to the school goes beyond teaching. She has coordinated Jewish studies classes, worked in the office and served on boards, all to keep the school running smoothly, Levy said.
Beth Hillel Day School teacher Beverly Yachzel smiles after receiving an honor from the Milken Family Foundation Monday in Valley Village. She is one of four Jewish educators in the L.A. area who were recipients of the award.
Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer