OWENSBORO, Ky. — Charlotte Buskill engages with her third-grade students at Newton-Parrish Elementary School in Owensboro.
Hands shoot up, eager to answer Mrs. Buskill’s questions. Her classroom runs like that on a typical day, but Thursday was far from that for the Pennsylvania native, as she won the Kentucky 2022 Milken Educator Award.
“Charlotte specifically has a very exciting classroom where she transforms her classroom for the first semester and then she has her students transform it based on their interests for the second semester,” said Dr. Jane Foley, the Vice President of the Milken Family Foundation.
Buskill sat with her students during the morning school assembly, among the rest of the student body, faculty and staff, thinking the event had something to do with high test scores, or maybe something about academic success during Covid. No one really knew for sure why they were all gathered in the gym at 10 a.m.
Several students came to the front of the gym to hold green posters that ended up reading “$25,000.” Foley engaged the students in a guessing game, revolving around the words “excellence” and “teacher.”
This was all a build-up to what Foley was about to cheer out, but not before a student body drum roll, of course. “The Milken Educator Award goes to Charlotte Buskill.”
Besides the surprise honor, one which only forty educators in the nation will receive this year, Buskill won $25,000 that she can use personally or professionally. She will also be among an elite group of educators and can network with them on an all-expense-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the Milken Educator Awards Forum.
“Education is so important to me. My students are so important to me, so to be recognized for that with all the hard work we’ve done all through the pandemic, it’s really moving because it’s been hard and we push through because we love the students,” Buskill said.
Buskill’s mother was a first-grade teacher, allowing her to learn from an early age that school was a loving place, especially for Buskill, who grew up with dyslexia.
“When people invest in you, you can go really far. So that’s how I just knew early on that I wanted to go into education. To give people that same feeling of empowerment that I was given by my family and educators that helped me along the way,” Buskill said.
The once unsung hero, Buskill was given the recognition she, and so many educators, deserve.