Hilliard: Teacher surprised with $25,000 Milken Educator Award

Nassau County teacher receives honorable award

HILLIARD, Fla. — Kristen Musgrove, a Nassau County teacher, received the surprise of a lifetime when she was announced as a recipient of this year’s $25,000 Milken Educator Award.

Musgrove said she thought she was attending a celebration for Hilliard Middle-Senior High School’s ‘A’ grade. Little did she know the assembly was all about her.

Content Continues Below

Presented at an all-school assembly, Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran recognized Musgrove’s exceptional work as a model for the state and nation.

Musgrove learned she is among just 40 teachers in the country honored with a Milken Educator award. The sixth grade math teacher is the only Milken Educator Award recipient in Florida this season.

“I am just totally surprised at this honor. I could not be more happy,” Musgrove said.

Musgrove said the award means even more because she grew up at the school.

“I had to come back. I just knew, I was going to be a teacher and I was like ‘I have to go back to my school, my home’,” Musgrove said.

District leaders said her classes are leading the county with 97% of her students demonstrating proficiency in math.

“My kids mean everything to me. I teach as if these were my actual children in my classroom – that’s how I develop my lesson," Musgrove said.

She’s not sure how she’ll use the money, but had a message for other educators: “Hang in there. I know the days can be tough. I know that kids can be tough at times, but they look up to you, they love you. IF you love them they’ll do their very best.”

In March, Musgrove and the other award recipients will gather in Indianapolis.

The Milken Educator Awards, created by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987, recognize teaching excellence publicly to inspire educators, students and entire communities about the importance of joining the teaching profession.

More than $140 million in funding, including $70 million in individual $25,000 awards, has been devoted to the overall initiative, which includes professional learning opportunities throughout recipients’ careers, according to the Milken Educator Awards.