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Albert Her Many Horses named South Dakota Milken Educator of the year

Albert Her Many Horses accepts the Milken recognition from Dr. Jane Foley, Milken
Albert Her Many Horses accepts the Milken recognition from Dr. Jane Foley, Milken senior vice president, as Senator Mike Rounds looks on

Each year, a South Dakota teacher is named the recipient of the Milken Educator Award, and a $25,000 prize to boot. This year, the recognition goes to a Rosebud Sioux educator in Todd County.

Albert Her Many Horses was met by sitting US Senators, the state secretary of education, and the Rosebud Sioux tribal president as he walked forward to accept the recognition.

Her Many Horses is a music and Lakota language teacher. He said this isn’t usually his scene.

“I didn’t want to go out to the center of the gym, then after that I was really hoping they wouldn’t have me talk on the microphone, because that’s not who I am," Her Many Horses said. "The rest of it is probably really good for the students, but for me it was terrifying.”

Despite some nerves, Her Many Horses said he’s proud to be someone his students can look up to.

“I took a weird pathway to being a teacher," Her Many Horses said. "I wanted to be a music teacher and that’s not something that’s very common in this region. They get to see something that’s just different. I get to choose where I end up. For the kids it provides them just a pathway of seeing someone whose doing what they want to do exactly how they want to do it.”

The Milken Award prize money can be spent however the recipient sees fit, be it a major field trip, continuing their own education, or establishing a scholarship for students.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture