Battle Academy third grade teacher Katelyn Baker was surprised with the $25,000 Milken Educator Award Tuesday. To keep the award a surprise, the school-wide assembly was billed as a visit from Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen. Baker is the only Milken Educator Award recipient for Tennessee this year.
Baker is in her sixth year of teaching at Battle, and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is engaged to be married in September, and said, "I'm so honored. This has come at a good time!"
Hamilton County Department of Education Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly says he is honored the Milken Family Foundation has noticed the exceptional education efforts in Hamilton County. “We could not be more thrilled about this announcement,” he said. “We put an emphasis on great teachers, great leaders here in Hamilton County. It is gratifying the Milken Educator Award is acknowledging our efforts on the national stage.”
Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley touted Baker’s accomplishments. “She tailors instruction to meet her students’ needs, shares successful strategies with colleagues, builds relationships with parents and plays an important role in moving the whole school forward,” Dr. Foley said. “Teachers do not apply for this award. We find great teachers, and award them.”
Along with reading, math, science and social studies, Katelyn Baker’s third-graders learn another very important skill: how to critique each other’s work. Baker acts as the facilitator as students share their work in front of the class, then listen as their peers offer both compliments and respectfully deliver suggestions for improvement. Calm, quiet and strong, Baker creates a safe environment in her classroom where students know they can trust her and each other.
Battle Academy Principal Saunya Goss was thrilled to hear about Baker’s win. “We are so proud of Ms. Baker’s accomplishments. She is a shining example of the environment that we have created here at Battle Academy that produces great teachers and great leaders,” Ms. Goss said. “We thank Milken for this prestigious acknowledgement”
Principal Goss also adds, “As the third-grade team lead, Baker plays a key role in the school’s efforts to foster teacher leadership. She represents her grade level at school meetings and oversees the grade’s day-to-day operations. Baker also leads team planning each week for her grade level and provides feedback on lesson content and pacing. Baker serves on the school leadership team and has worked on committees that focus on arts integration, Socratic seminars, and multiple intelligences. As the school’s literacy support representative, Baker is responsible for sharing key literacy information from the district with her school. She leads best practices sessions for intermediate teachers and mentors student teachers from local universities.”
Baker earned both a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the UTC in 2010.