Long-time MPS educator wins a prestigious award

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, a long-time substitute teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools wins a prestigious award.

It's a contest sponsored by McDonald’s and Jammin’ 98.3 FM to find the "most loved" teacher in southeast Wisconsin.

The winner is 89-year-old John Outlaw, who is a Special Ed substitute teacher at Alexander Hamilton High School.  He was surprised in class the McTeacher Appreciation award on Tuesday.

His daughter, Melissa, nominated Outlaw for his dedication to education.  He's been teaching for more than 50 years and still going strong.

“He deserves the award because he's been doing this for so long, he loves to do it,” said Melissa Outlaw.

Outlaw got his first job in 1956 at Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts, becoming one of the first African-American teachers in MPS history.  He taught science, was a guidance counselor and later retired from full-time employment in 1987.  Clearly, Outlaw couldn't leave the classroom.

“I only retired for one month because I was so bored at home that I saw on the newspaper, substitutes needed.  That was my opportunity to get back on the harness again,” he said.

“The kids absolutely love him,” said Hamilton High School Principal Rosana Mateo.

As a thank you, organizers awarded Outlaw with a trip for two to the upcoming Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.

“We like to provide and give back to the community, and what a better way to do so to honor a person who has given so much to this community by educating our kids?  Those are true heroes,” said McDonald’s franchise owner Rafael Luciano.

As for whether Outlaw will eventually slow down?

“I certainly hope that I can continue as long as I possibly can,” he said.

Outlaw is also a World War II veteran, who served in the United States Navy.  He says when he goes to New Orleans this summer, he hopes to find some of the surviving shipmates he served with in the war.