Nicole Castile Wins Milken Award


Third-grade teacher Nicole Castile was awarded $25,000, thanks to the Milken Foundation.

The award was presented Tuesday by Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching’s Dr. Gary Stark at a surprise ceremony at Norman Smith Elementary School in Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools.

“Teachers like Nicole Castile are the reason we are the fastest improving state in the nation,” Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “Every day our teachers go above and beyond to support and encourage our students’ growth in and out of the classroom.”

Castile serves as Norman Smith’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) leader, training her colleagues at the school and district level. Her commitment to STEM education is also apparent in her students’ achievement; last year all of her students were at or above grade level on the science portion of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). Castile often co-teaches with her peers to share and learn best practices. She is also a member of Norman Smith’s leadership team, chairperson for the school improvement team, and a mentor for new and veteran teachers.

Castile joins 61 Tennessee educators who have been recognized since the program began in Tennessee in 1992. Over the past 22 years, the program has awarded more than $1.5 million to Tennessee educators.

You can find additional information and pictures from the ceremony on the Milken Educator Awards website:

The Milken Educator Awards, conceived by the Milken Family Foundation to attract, retain, and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession, is the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program, dubbed the “Oscars of Teaching” by Teacher Magazine. Since 1987, the Milken Family Foundation has devoted more than $137 million in funding to the Milken Educator Awards, including over $65 million in individual awards to more than 2,600 recipients.

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