Nassau County 6th Grade Math Teacher Wins National Award, Receives $25,000 Check

Feb 5, 2020

A Nassau County math teacher was surprised with a $25,000 check on Wednesday morning after being named Florida’s Milken Educator of the year.

Hilliard Middle-Senior High School 6th grade math teacher Kristen Musgrove was presented with a Milken Educator Award by Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran and Milken Educator Awards Senior Program Director Greg Gallagher during a surprise school assembly.

She had no idea it was coming.

“I never in a million years thought I would have won something so honorable,” said Musgrove, who has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Florida. “Needless to say, it was a pretty exciting morning for me.”

Kristen Musgrove's sixth grade math students give a cheer for Florida's newest Milken Educator.
Credit Milken Family Foundation

Musgrove’s students are leading the school district in math proficiency at 97%, but her work goes beyond the school day - she also offers tutoring at a weekly after-school math camp. 

"Kristen Musgrove knows that math is the ticket to the future in so many fields, and she's helping all of her students to get on board," said Gallagher. "Even in non-technical situations, sound logic, a rigorous approach and creative mathematical thinking translate into successful problem solving. Musgrove's energy, empathy and ingenuity make her a great teacher — and an inspirational colleague. We're proud to welcome her as a Milken Educator."

She’s the only Milken Educator Award winner from Florida this year and is one of only 40 nationwide. She was chosen by a panel appointed by state education departments around the country.

"Congratulations to Kristen Musgrove on receiving this prestigious award from the Milken Family Foundation," said Corcoran. "High-quality educators are critical to student success and it is clear that Ms. Musgrove works hard every day to ensure her students reach their full potential." 

The award includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, which is a group of more than 2,800 teachers, principals, and specialists. Musgrove and other recipients from this year will also be attending a Milken Educator Forum in Indianapolis in March, where they’ll network with colleagues as well as state and federal leaders. Recipients will be paired with veteran Milken Educator mentors who will help them prepare for leadership roles and improve as teachers.

As for the $25,000 prize, Musgrove isn’t sure what she’s going to do with it yet. But she knows people who have some ideas.

Back in her classroom, Kristen Musgrove talks with excited students after her surprise Milken Award assembly.
Credit Milken Family Foundation

“My children were like, ‘Take us on a trip!’” she said, laughing.

Her 9-year-old daughter Bristol and 7-year-old son Lane had another suggestion too: give each of them $1,000.

Musgrove’s not sure about that idea, but the two have been begging for a Disney cruise for a long time so that may be on the cards.

“We don’t know yet,” she said. “We’ll see.”

Brendan Rivers can be reached at brivers@wjct.org, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.