The Milken recognized Wong for firing up excitement about biology and AP courses at West Springfield. In the past two years, 100 percent of her students passed the Virginia Standard of Learning for biology, and 75 percent of her AP students scored a 3 or better on the AP examination (3 is the minimum score that students need to be eligible for college credit for the AP course).
Wong also mentors students struggling with the transition to high school, and she set up an AP summer academy.
"Teaching is my passion," Wong says. "Teachers I had growing up were my role models, along with my parents, and I wanted to be that role model for others. I truly believe teachers make a difference and help guide and motivate young adults."
"In her classroom, Ann creates an environment of excitement and the expectation of working hard," says West Springfield Principal Paul Wardinski.
Wong grew up in Falls Church, Va., and became hooked on Virginia Tech when she visited an older sister who was already a Tech student. While at the university, she served as color guard captain in the Marching Virginians and met her future husband, Ryan Wong (interior design '96). She's been teaching at West Springfield for 16 years.
"Tech offered so much and opened my eyes to many possibilities and helped me realize that teaching was my calling," Wong says.
As for the $25,000 that goes with the award, Wong says much of it will go into college savings for her three young boys, with the rest going to the high school's science department.
To learn more the Milken Educator Awards, go to www.milkeneducatorawards.org/