Charlotte Buskill, a 3rd-grade teacher at Newton Parrish Elementary, was surprised Thursday morning with the Milken Educator Award, a prestigious recognition which includes an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize to be used however she likes.
“I’m just so shocked,” said Buskill, who comes from a family of educators.
She said Newton Parrish leaders “took a chance on a girl from Pennsylvania who came for an interview” and she was “captivated by the love that every single teacher puts in every single day” there.
Buskill was presented with the award, which includes a $25,000 unrestricted cash prize, in a surprise ceremony at her school that included students, faculty, and district and community leaders. The award was presented by Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Jane Foley.
“I am so happy to be in Owensboro today with the Milken Foundation to celebrate Charlotte Buskill, one of Kentucky’s outstanding educators,” said Glass. “Mrs. Buskill goes above and beyond what is expected of her as a teacher and a colleague and inspires her students to do the same. Students leave her classroom well prepared for the next step in their educational journey.”
Buskill has taught at Newton Parrish Elementary School since 2016. She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in literacy education from Western University Kentucky. She is currently pursing her National Board certification.
“I could not have done any of that without the administrators and teachers that support me,” Buskill said. “I could go on and on about the amazing educators that put me where I am today.”
Buskill’s family members who were or are educators includes her great-grandmother, mother and two sisters. She said they played a big role in shaping her career.
“Early on I was dyslexic, that’s been part of my story. Learning was not always easy,” she said. “[My family] always pushed me to be the best I can be.”
Coleman said she was excited to join in celebrating Buskill and all Kentucky teachers.
“Teachers like Charlotte have worked tirelessly to create new ways of student learning and to build the foundations for students’ future successes,” Coleman said. “Whether she is sponsoring the Student Technology Leadership Program after school club, mentoring emerging students in the field of education, or volunteering to help with family nights and book fairs, Mrs. Buskill is committed to Kentucky’s students.”
Buskill’s influence reaches beyond the classroom. She sponsors the Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) after school club and often incorporates science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities into her homeroom, exposing students to multiple STEM activities throughout the year.
In addition to her role as the STLP sponsor, Buskill is a leader in her school and district, serving on Newton Parrish’s site-based decision making council and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports committee. She mentors university students in the education field and first-year teachers through the Owensboro Teacher Internship Program. Buskill also frequently volunteers to help with Title 1 family nights and Scholastic book fairs.
Buskill is among up to 40 elementary educators across the nation who will receive the award during the 2022-2023 school year, but is Kentucky’s sole recipient. She is the second recipient from Owensboro Public Schools in the history of the award.
This year’s honorees receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in April 2023.
Hailed as the “Oscars of Teaching,” Milken Educator Awards inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities. The specific states and schools on this year’s winners’ list remain a closely guarded secret until each Award is announced.
This story will be updated.