CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 30 years ago, a man with no car but a passion for teaching came to Chicago to get a job. Today, he leads Lindblom Math and Science Academy.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, he is the first principal to receive a very prestigious award.

Lindblom Principal Alan Mather got a surprise visit from Mayor Emanuel in the middle of an assembly to honor college-bound seniors.

For the first time, the Golden Apple Foundation selected a principal for excellence in education.

Mather became principal when Lindblom reopened nine years ago with 110 students. Today, 1,100 students are enrolled with the largest Mandarin program in CPS and the largest non-heritage Arabic program in the U.S.

Even though more than 60 percent of the students at Lindblom are part of the free lunch program, under Mather’s leadership, it has been ranked as one of the top 20 schools in the state.

Golden Apple awarded Mather $10,000. He plans to use most of that money to create an innovative science and math lab at the school.

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