Angie Beavin’s first goal for her fifth-graders each year at Peaks Mill Elementary School in Frankfort is instilling in them a true love of reading.
Beavin’s teaching prowess received high marks Monday morning at a surprise school assembly where she was presented with a Milken Educator Award by Milken Family Foundation. Chairman and Co-Founder Lowell Milken, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Wayne D. Lewis Jr. were in attendance.
The national award comes with an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize. She is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Kentucky this year, and is among the 33 honorees nationally.
“The kids teach me so much,” said. Beavin, 34. “I’m really big into just teaching kids how to think. That’s the basis behind any learning. I’m teaching them how to be problem solvers.”
Beavin relies heavily on assessment data to help struggling students exceed benchmarks and to challenge high achievers, said a press release about Beavin’s award. Peaks Mill has gone from the lowest-performing elementary building in Franklin County Schools to the highest, with Beavin’s students delivering the best math and reading growth in the district, the release said.
“The power of a teacher is an amazing thing, “ said Gov. Matt Bevin, who got hugs and high fives from children at the school.
The Milken Educator Awards, hailed by Teacher magazine as the “Oscars of teaching,” is an initiative of the Milken Family Foundation which has rewarded excellence in education by honoring top educators around the country.
The press release about the award said Beavin, who has taught for 11 years, engages children and their families in the classroom and beyond and she has high expectations for all her students.
“Something of an instructional practices guru, Beavin leads professional development at Peaks Mill, presents at faculty meetings and mentors fellow teachers, sharing resources and instructional strategies to lift staff, students and community,” the news release said.
Lewis praised Beavin saying, “Angie Beavin is committed to doing whatever it takes to ignite the passion, potential and possibility in each and every one of her students. She is an extraordinary example of teaching excellence in Kentucky.”
Mark Kopp, Superintendent of Franklin County Schools., concurred.
“Angie Beavin is an incredibly dedicated and student-centered teacher,” he said. “She has created a welcoming classroom that provides an exciting, enriching learning environment for her students. We are blessed beyond words to have her as a team member of our district, and she is incredibly deserving of this prestigious honor.
The news release from Milken said Beavin gets to know each pupil’s hobbies and passions and recommends books she thinks will resonate with them. Her students keep individual reading journals in which they take notes about how the text relates to themselves and the world. Beavin’s students run her classroom: Her focus is teaching them to become independent thinkers and learners, with rigorous standards rooted in respect and concern for all.
Beavin’s current role includes working to reach Peaks Mill’s at-risk students.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in 2007 from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s in 2012 from Georgetown College.