When she received her Milken Educator Award, teacher Emilia Bankston's third graders at West Elementary School in Gulfport had achieved the highest scores on the state assessment of any student at the school. Even in the year of Hurricane Katrina, Mrs. Bankston's students exceeded expectations more than any other elementary class in the district, with 87 percent scoring "advanced" in reading and math and 93 percent scoring "advanced" in language. One of three teachers honored nationally for being the first in the nation to achieve Master Teacher status in Accelerated Math, Mrs. Bankston helps students reach their Accelerated Reader and Math goals every nine weeks, without fail. She differentiates instruction to help close the achievement gap, provides a free tutoring service, and involves parents through home visits and personal phone calls. Chair of her grade level, she mentors novice teachers and supervises student teachers. Originally from Taiwan, Mrs. Bankston credits American teachers with helping her to succeed. Now that she's one of them, she is amply returning the favor.
Going into my 24th year in education, I pride myself in upholding my dedication to educate all children and have continued to launch high standards in the academics and personal growths of the students and other stakeholders. I have risen to the challenges in our diverse school population by motivating and inspiring all learners to achieve excellence in various facets of their lives. As a professional, I am committed to grow and pursue life-long learning (i.e., higher education, peer collaboration, leadership and committee activities, staff development & workshops, research literature, self-reflections...etc.) in order to continuously strengthen and improve as an instructional leader in the field. I believe that my greatest attribute is not permitting students, teachers, and parents to say no to failures and to celebrate all successes, no matter big or small. My goal as an educational leader is to cultivate positive changes, growing and learning with stakeholders and facing stumbles together in the roadblocks to higher achievements. I strongly facilitate partnership between school and home. By establishing trusting relationship and commitment from all parties, everyone becomes a success story. The task of the excellent teacher is to stimulate "apparently ordinary" people to unusual effect. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is making winners out of ordinary people. ~ K. Patricia Cross
Specialist Degree in Educational Administration, Ed. S. received May 2014