A Garfield Elementary School teacher has been honored with a prestigious national teaching award.

Sonia Galaviz is one of only five recipients nationwide to win the 2017 Horace Mann Award for teaching excellence.

She was very surprised when she received the award Wednesday.

"The award from the National Education Association is an honor in itself, but to be recognized in front of my friends and colleagues, and a district I love, and a school I'm very lucky to work at - I'm just so happy and so proud to represent Boise," Galaviz said.

The educator says she's a huge proponent of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) and works to pass that along to her students.

"STEM education is what will lead our children through the 21st-century workforce," she said. "It's empowering it a lot of ways, but for me, STEM is about equity and access and opportunity in the classroom, that they can see themselves as anything they want to be."

Galaviz will travel to Washington, D.C., in February to receive the award and $10,000 at the National Education Association's Foundation gala.