Third-grade teacher Charlotte Buskill receives the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

Third-grade teacher Charlotte Buskill, fourth from left, received the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award on Nov. 10. The event was attended by students, faculty, and local and state leaders, including Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman. Photo by Toni Konz Tatman, Kentucky Department of Education

Charlotte Buskill, a 3rd-grade teacher at Newton Parrish Elementary School (Owensboro Independent), was celebrated on Nov. 10 as the latest Kentucky educator to receive the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

“I’m just so shocked,” said Buskill. She said she comes from a family of educators and “I just knew that I wanted to be a teacher as well.”

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. Kentucky Board of Education member Patrice McCrary also was present for the celebration.

“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.

She said the last few years have been hard and “I could not have done any of that without the administrators and teachers that support me,” said Buskill. “I could go on and on about the amazing educators that put me where I am today.”

She added she comes from a family full of educators – her great-grandmother, mother and two sisters.

“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. 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,” said Coleman.

“I hope Mrs. Buskill can serve as an inspiration for current and future educators.”

Buskill believes in cultivating good relationships with her students and their families. Her colleagues also praise her for for creating individualized plans for each student, especially when it comes to reading comprehension.

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.

Earlier this year, Buskill and 40 students attended the STLP state championship at the Central Bank Center in Lexington, held in person for the first time in three years. Students from across the Commonwealth participated in nearly 50 different STLP competition areas such as robotics, coding, web design and newscasting.

“It’s teachers like Mrs. Buskill that enable Kentucky to move forward with our United We Learn vision to provide vibrant learning experiences for our students. By using technology to help students understand and solve their school and community needs, she provides an engaging avenue for student collaboration, curiosity and rich curricular instruction,” said Glass.

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.

“Charlotte Buskill is a creative, results-oriented instructional leader,” said Foley, who also is a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. “She builds an environment where students and colleagues alike are well-supported to succeed. I welcome Charlotte into our Milken Educator Award family and look forward to the gifts of innovation, leadership and collaboration that she will bring to our national network.”

The Milken Educator Awards provide public recognition and individual financial rewards of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and specialists from around the country who are furthering excellence in education. Milken Educators are selected in the early to middle stages of their career for what they have achieved, and for the promise of what they will accomplish. In addition to the cash prize and public recognition, the honor includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,900 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education.

Buskill and the other award recipients from across the country will attend the Milken Educator Forum, where they will network with their new colleagues and exchange ideas with state and federal leaders on the future of education.

In addition, they enter the Milken Friends Forever mentoring program, where freshman Milken Educators receive personalized coaching and support from a Milken Educator veteran on ways to elevate their instructional practice and take an active role in educational leadership, policy and practice.

The Milken Family Foundation has presented more than 2,900 Milken Educator Awards since 1987, including 60 to Kentucky educators. The awards alternate each yearly between elementary and secondary educators.

For more information about Buskill and links to photos and a video from today’s ceremony, visit the Milken Educator Awards website.