"It's been very difficult," Heintzman said. "I've kept this secret for a few weeks now."
Heintzman called an end-of-the-day assembly, but didn't tell anyone what it was really about.
"I told the staff that the commissioner [of education] is coming to talk about some great things we're doing here at Brown," Heintzman said.
While Commissioner Robert Hammond, Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg, and other dignitaries were there, the real reason was so members of the Lowell Milken Family Foundation can award what's been called the "Oscars" of teaching.
"At the Milken Family Foundation, we don't think that educators get enough recognition," Dr. Jane Foley, senior vice president at the Milken Family Foundation, said. "We just don't say thank you enough."
So, the foundation created the Milken Educator Award. Teachers do not apply. They are not nominated. Instead, researchers travel around the country seeking out the best teachers in the nation. Their search brought them to an art teacher, Barth Quenzer.
"He is receiving the award because he is a fabulous teacher. He's an incredible educator. He's a great person," Heintzman said.
Quenzer is also receiving a $25,000 prize to use in any way he would like. When he was called to the state, he was clearly shocked and maybe even a little embarrassed.
"This was a huge surprise. I did not see this coming," Quenzer said. "I am extremely humbled and honored to be among the most distinguished and honorable guests here."
The Milken Family Foundation, a private non-profit, awarded just one teacher in Colorado for this year.
Quenzer says he is not sure what he will use the money for only that it will be something towards his school.
"Wow, is all I can say at this point," said Quenzer.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)