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Achieving Academic and Personal Growth for Owensboro Public School Students Earns Charlotte Buskill a $25,000 Kentucky Milken Educator Award

Third graders thrive in Buskill's student-centered classroom at Newton Parrish Elementary School

November 10, 2022

Santa Monica, Calif. — At Newton Parrish Elementary in Owensboro Public Schools, Kentucky, third grade teacher Charlotte Buskill brings out the best in everyone in her classroom. Students are enchanted as her classroom transforms into exciting worlds that match the books they are reading. However, today, Buskill's world turned upside down when a "Back-to-School" assembly culminated with the shock of her life: recognition as the recipient of Kentucky's 2022 Milken Educator Award, often hailed as the "Oscar of Teaching." 

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley was joined by Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman and Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Jason E. Glass to present Buskill with the prestigious recognition, including an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize to be used however she likes. 

Buskill is among up to 40 elementary educators across the nation who will receive the Milken Educator Award during the 2022-2023 school year, and the second recipient from Owensboro Public Schools in the history of the Award. On top of today's celebration, Buskill will have the opportunity to join the national Milken Educator Network of more than 2,900 exceptional K-12 educators and leaders across the country. Honorees receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles in April 2023. 

"Charlotte Buskill is a creative, results-oriented instructional leader," said Dr. Foley, who 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." 

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. 

"Charlotte works 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 afterschool 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 Lieutenant Governor Coleman. "I hope Mrs. Buskill can serve as an inspiration for current and future educators. Congratulations for receiving this prestigious award." 

Over the past 35 years, more than $140 million in funding, including more than $73 million in individual Awards, has been devoted to the overall Milken Awards initiative, which includes powerful professional development opportunities throughout recipients' careers. 

"I am so happy to be in Owensboro today with the Milken Foundation to celebrate Charlotte Buskill, one of Kentucky's outstanding educators," said Dr. 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." 

Glass added: "It's teachers like Mrs. Buskill that makes Kentucky able to move forward with our United We Learn vision to provide vibrant learning experiences for our students. Through 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." 

More About Charlotte Buskill 

Classroom Culture and Student Success: Charlotte Buskill builds positive relationships with every student in her third grade class at Newton Parrish Elementary in Owensboro Public Schools, Kentucky. She taps into their particular interests, learning what makes them tick and creating connections that keep students engaged in their learning. She holds high expectations and students rise to meet them, knowing that with her support they can do anything they set their minds to do. The supportive team atmosphere Buskill creates leads to impressive results — her students show significant growth on progress monitoring and benchmark data. 

Peer Leadership: A role model for her team and other colleagues, Buskill has served on Newton Parrish's Teacher Lighthouse Team and committees for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and site-based decision-making, as well as the district's science curriculum committee. She mentors student teachers and researches best practices, freely sharing ideas, information and innovative instructional strategies with colleagues. The leader of Newton Parrish's STEM club, part of Kentucky's project-based learning Student Technology Leadership Program, Buskill took several dozen students to Lexington for the school's first trip to the state STEM competition. 

Community Connections: Buskill partners with parents to enhance the educational experience for both students and families. She helps with Newton Parrish's Title I Family Nights and the annual Scholastic Book Fair. Buskill’s love for her students is evident, both in the classroom and beyond — as they move to higher grades, she regularly checks in on them and stays connected. Outside of school, Buskill teaches disc golf and leads a youth group at a local church.

Education: Buskill earned a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education (pre-K-4) from Pennsylvania State University in 2016 and a Master of Arts in literacy education from Western Kentucky University in 2020.

More About the Milken Educator Awards: "The future belongs to the educated."

Along with the financial prize, recipients join the national Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,900 top teachers, principals and specialists. The network serves as a rich resource for fellow educators, legislators, school boards and others dedicated to excellence in education.

  • The honorees will also attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles, where they will network with their new colleagues as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders about how to increase their impact on K-12 education. 
  • In addition, they will learn about how to become involved in the Milken Friends Forever (MFF) mentoring program, in which new 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. 
  • Veteran Milken Educators demonstrate a wide range of leadership roles at state, national and international levels. 
  • "We find you. You don't find us!" Unlike most teacher recognition programs, the Milken Educator Awards initiative has no formal nomination or application process. Candidates are sourced through a confidential selection process and then reviewed by blue ribbon panels in each state. The most exceptional candidates are recommended for the Award, with final selection made by the Milken Family Foundation. 
  • The $25,000 cash Award is unrestricted. Recipients have used the money in diverse ways. For instance, some have spent the funds on their children's or their own continuing education, financing dream field trips, establishing scholarships, and even adopting children.   

To receive regular updates on the surprise Milken Educator Award events or to watch the award events unfold, follow and use the #MilkenAward hashtag on Facebook (@MilkenEducatorAwards), Twitter (@Milken), YouTube (/MilkenAward), Instagram (MilkenFamilyFdn), and TikTok (@MilkenAward). 

For more information, visit or call the Milken Family Foundation at (310) 570-4772. 

About the Milken Educator Awards
The first Milken Educator Awards were presented by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987. The 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. Recipients are heralded in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish. The initiative was created by the Milken Family Foundation, which celebrates 40 years of elevating education in America and around the world. Learn more at