Gorham High School teacher Adam Parvanta, right, is surprised Wednesday as the recipient of a $25,000 as Milken Educator Award. At left is Jane Foley of the Milken Foundation, Principal Brian Jandreau and state Education Commissioner Pender Makin. Robert Lowell / American Journal

GORHAM — High school teacher “Mr. P,” Adam Parvanta, was handed a $25,000 check Wednesday as a winner of a Milken Educator Award.

The surprised Parvanta, a media technology teacher, received a standing ovation from the student body, teachers, staff and guests at a ceremony in the school gym.

“Wow,” Parvanta said. “This is so incredible. My heart is going to pound out of my chest.”

Jane Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards, and Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin presented the award. Foley traveled to Gorham from Santa Monica, California, to take part in the ceremony.

“We heard about your school in California. We heard you had the best students in Maine,” Foley said.

She said the program honors outstanding educators.

“One of the best teachers in the country is here,” she said before naming Parvanta as the recipient.

Parvanta can use the money as he chooses.

Principal Brian Jandreau said Gorham High School has the best students and the best teachers.

“Now, one of our own has been recognized,” he said.

Parvanta was a former math teacher at Gorham Middle School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Maine in 2003.

Educators are not allowed to apply for the Milken Educator Award themselves and are even unaware they are under consideration. “Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then are reviewed by blue ribbon panels appointed by state departments of education,” a Milken press release said.

Parvanta is the only Maine winner this year and among up to 40 in the nation.

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