WESTWOOD (CBS) – A Westwood elementary school principal was surprised at school Thursday when he found out he is this year’s recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

Allan W. Cameron, Jr., principal of the Deerfield Elementary School was awarded with $25,000 during a ceremony at his school Thursday which included state education officials.

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This is the 40th time a Massachusetts teacher has won the national award.

Cameron is the only Massachusetts recipient this year and one of 40 recipients across the country.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Cameron for his hard work and commitment to his students, faculty and community, earning him this outstanding award,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. “My deepest thanks go to him and all of the exceptional educators across the Commonwealth who work to educate and motivate students every day, preparing them for success as individual learners, responsible citizens, and leaders within their communities.”

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An independent statewide panel of principals, teachers and other educators review dozens of educator portfolios and submit those to the Milken Family Foundation, the state Department of Education said.

The Foundation makes the final selection of recipients.

Predetermined criteria for the award include educational talent and promise, skill in developing innovative and creative curricula and programs, commitment to professional development and the ability to instill self-confidence in students.

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Cameron has served as principal at Deerfield School since July 2008. He is also an elected school committee member in Walpole.