Bilingual Oregon middle school teacher 'can teach anyone, anything,' wins $25,000

Ricardo Larios, a bilingual teacher at Salem, Oregon's Waldo Middle School, was chosen Wednesday as Oregon's winner of the $25,000 Milken Award for the most outstanding educator.

A Salem native whose parents emigrated from Mexico, Larios teaches social studies to students at Waldo, a high-poverty school where nearly 60 percent of students speak Spanish. Milken prize judges said he is widely known around Salem for his ability to connect and directly relate to students and families through his personal experiences growing up in an immigrant family in the same area.

In the classroom, prize officials said, Larios demonstrates a deep commitment to each of his students and  makes what he teaches accessible and applicable. 

"He has the reputation of a teacher who can teach anyone, anything," said Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards.

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