Mid-South teacher wins $25K national award

Watkins poses with her students (Source: Milken Family Foundation)
Watkins poses with her students (Source: Milken Family Foundation)

MILLINGTON, TN (WMC) - A Mid-South teacher is getting the celebrity treatment after she was recognized for her hard work.

Katherine Watkins was surprised with the Milken Educator Award in front of her entire school Thursday.

The Millington Central High School English teacher could not believe she won a $25,000 award for her outstanding work in the classroom.

"I feel as though this is a dream," Watkins said. "This is surreal. I haven't accepted the reality of this yet."

She received the prestigious honor in front of Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candace McQueen.

Watkins said her students are her inspiration.

"Teaching is a challenging profession and it has a lot of ups and downs, but when you have students like the students at Millington it makes all the hard work worth it," Watkins said.

Watkins has taught at Millington Central for seven years inspiring those students, including Seanjulyla Griffin, who said Watkins' ability to relate to them is the secret to her success.

"She's laid back, chill and she knows how to teach us and show us and she understands where we're coming from," Griffin said.

Watkins said she'll probably take the $25,000 and reinvest it in her classroom, an investment she's made with these students over the past seven years.

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