CHICAGO (CBS) — A top Chicago Public Schools teacher got quite a surprise on Wednesday when she was awarded the prestigious Golden Apple Award from Gov. Pat Quinn.

Quinn presented the award to Elizabeth Luna, a kindergarten teacher at Murray Language Academy.

“An outstanding teacher can have more influence on a student than almost anyone else,” Quinn said.

Luna began teaching in Chicago Public Schools in 2003 as a substitute, leaving the restaurant industry for a second career in education. After joining Murray Language Academy to teach intermediate grades, she was placed in kindergarten.

Luna works with The University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program (Chicago UTEP) as a mentor teacher. Luna is one of 10 teachers to win the award, out of 560 Pre-Kindergarten-3rd grade teachers nominated this year in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.

Golden Apple winners receive an honorarium, a tuition-free semester sabbatical at Northwestern University and become lifetime members of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators.

Murray Language Academy is a magnet school located in Hyde Park. Students receive lessons in French, Spanish, Mandarin or Japanese.