Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Northport Teacher Named Recipient of National Award

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Northport Teacher Named Recipient of National Award

Article excerpt

NORTHPORT | When Walker Elementary School called a surprise assembly in the gym Tuesday, fifth-grade science teacher Krystle Bryant had no idea why.

No one did, except the school's principal, Antonio Cooper, and a woman in a red dress from Santa Monica, Calif., named Jane Foley.

As students flooded into the gym, some familiar faces could be seen. Next to Cooper and the woman in the red dress were county school superintendent Elizabeth Swinford and state school superintendent Tommy Bice.

Foley, introduced to the audience by Bice, said she had traveled 2,000 miles to Walker Elementary to recognize excellence at the school. "One of the best educators in the country is in your school," said Foley, senior vice president of the Milken Educator Awards.

Foley called Bryant's name and along with Bice and Swinford, presented her with the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award, the "education Oscar."

Students high-fived Bryant as she walked down the bleachers to accept the award.

"My co-worker and I were talking to each other about who we thought (the award winner) was," Bryant said after accepting the award, which comes with a $25,000 check to be used however a recipient pleases. "I was actually just shocked, and I almost felt undeserving. I really had no idea."

The Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award is given to the top 1 percent of all teachers in the country, Foley said. Every year, no more than 40 of the nation's 3 million educators are selected for the award.

Bryant, who has taught at Walker for nine years, is the 32nd teacher from Alabama to receive the award and the first from a school in Tuscaloosa County. More than 2,600 teachers have received the award since it was created in 1987.

Bice said having another Alabama teacher recognized for the award affirms all of the hard work that educators in the state do.

"The fact that she is engaged in science and making sure that science is real for kids in rural Alabama, in Tuscaloosa County, it speaks volumes of what's really going on in public education," Bice said. …

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