Educator Profile    Educators

Katherine Watkins (TN '17)

Dean of Academics

Memphis School of Excellence
Memphis, TN

Subject(s) taught: ELA 7-12, AP Literature & Composition, Dual Enrollment English
Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

At the time of the Award, Katherine Watkins was:

Millington Central High School
Millington, TN

Subject(s) taught: English, AP Literature and Composition
Grade(s): 11, 12

Biographical Information

Katherine Watkins is regarded as a valuable instructional leader and data analyst at Millington Central High School, which serves the military community of NSA Mid-South. On campus, Watkins serves as the English department chair and English 11 Professional Learning Community (PLC) coordinator. There is no greater proof than seeing her in action in her classroom, where her passion for language arts elevates student learning. Whether it’s Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature and Composition, Dual Enrollment or 11th-grade Standard English, Watkins creates engaging lessons that underscore literary concepts and writing norms, and develops comprehensive intervention plans that ensure students of all abilities meet their potential.

Literature isn’t just read, it’s lived. Watkins teaches outside the normal confines of the classroom and applies real-world scenarios that enliven and capture students’ interest. A published poet herself, Watkins chronicles her travels abroad and photographs historic places to share with students about locales and legends referenced in many of their class reading assignments. She also enjoys taking her class on a field trip to see a play – an opportunity many of her students would not otherwise get to experience.

Watkins is actively involved on campus sharing her creative skills as yearbook advisor and her academic knowledge as the National Honor Society (NHS) advisor and co-coach of the Knowledge Bowl. As a member of the school leadership team, she helps write pacing guides for the school’s curriculum. Eager to learn, Watkins seeks ways to enhance her teaching methods and skills. She takes the state Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM) rubric seriously as a tool to consistently reflect on her practices and obtain constructive feedback. Outside of school, she attended AP training courses in order to improve student scores and understanding. A believer in a well-rounded education, Watkins spends summers teaching at a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) summer camp for middle school students and is a trained jazz pianist.

Watkins earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, cum laude, from Rhodes College in 2007, and a Master of Science in Literature and Modernity from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2009. 

Press release: Katherine Watkins first in Millington to win $25,000 Milken Educator Award



Related Connections

Article: On the Hill: Milken Educators Meet with Congress

Article: Spotlight: 10 Questions for Katherine Watkins (TN '17)

Educator Quote:

"I always start each year by giving my kids a questionnaire..." (read more)

Katherine Watkins In The News

Tupac, Shakespeare, and ‘Stranger Things’: How a top Tennessee Teacher Relates to Her Students
Chalkbeat  |  Jan 12, 2018  |  Memphis, TN

The 'Oscar Winners' of Teaching Share Their Secrets for Success
EdWeek  |  Jan 05, 2018  |  Bethesda, MD

Surprise! Millington Teacher Gifted $25,000 in Front of her Entire School
Commercial Appeal  |  Nov 16, 2017  |  Memphis, TN

Teachers in Millington and Knoxville Just Won the Oscar Awards of Education
Chalkbeat Tennessee  |  Nov 16, 2017  |  Memphis, TN

WATCH --> Mid-South Teacher Wins $25K National Award
WMC-TV  |  NBC  |  Nov 16, 2017  |  Memphis, TN

Millington Teacher Receives Prestigious Milken Award
WATN-TV  |  ABC  |  Nov 16, 2017  |  Memphis, TN

Watch This 'Favorite' Teacher Get $25,000 Surprise at School Assembly
USA Today  |  Nov 16, 2017  |  Mc Lean, VA