TEA News Releases Online
Feb. 14, 2012
Pflugerville teacher receives $25,000 Valentine surprise
AUSTIN - Kristina Carssow’s love of teaching produced a big reward for her this Valentine’s Day. During a packed school assembly this morning, she was showered with an outpouring of love from students and faculty as she learned that she will receive a $25,000 teaching prize.
This educator from the Pflugerville Independent School District received the 2011-2012 Milken Educator Award.
Carssow is the only Texas educator to receive the award this year and one of only about 40 in the whole country to receive the recognition.
Connally is the only school in Texas to have had two of its teachers recognized with this award. In 2000, Joe Kieke, then the social studies chair at Connally, received the award.
Established by the Milken Family Foundation in 1987, this is now the largest teacher recognition program in the country. It has given educators $63 million in awards over the past 25 years, including more than $1 million given to 43 Texas educators.
Each year exceptional educators – considered without their knowledge by a blue-ribbon panel appointed by each state’s department of education – are surprised with the news of their $25,000 cash award, which they can use in any way they choose.
Carssow was already recognized by her district as an outstanding teacher. After working as a classroom teacher and as lead teacher for Connally’s Freshman Cornerstone Academy, she was named a master teacher for TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement.
As a TAP leader, Carssow mentors other classroom teachers. She teaches model lessons to demonstrate effective teaching methods and provides professional development training to other teachers. She has also helped develop and establish policies for ninth and 10th grade teachers to use for grading, classroom management and student relationships.
She also prepares after-school tutoring labs in all subject areas for freshmen. Carssow is active at the district level as well, helping to annually update the curriculum and serving on several district level committees.
“Kristina Carssow is a true teacher leader,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott. “Far too often, we don’t honor and recognize the outstanding educators who work daily to improve the lives of our children. It’s an honor to help bring Ms. Carssow the recognition she deserves.”