This honor serves as a recognition of all those who have taught and supported me: my family, the scientists and educators who trained me, and my generous community of colleagues both in my home school district and across the country. Most importantly, this award reflects the efforts of all the enthusiastic young people with whom I have been privileged to work. All teaching is collaborative, and my students, more than anyone else, have taught me how to teach, learn, collaborate, and dream.

Kirstin Milks Bloomington, IN | 7-12, Science, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Kirstin Milks learns with and from her 9th-12th grade Advanced Placement Biology and Earth/space science students at Bloomington High School South, where she has worked for the past nine years. Previously, she taught one year of biotechnology at Sequoia High School in California. Kirstin's family weathered emotional and financial instability while she was growing up, and she experienced first-hand the way school can be a refuge for students. As a teacher, she is committed to engaging students in authentic scientific practices. She collaborates with students and community members to learn together in inclusive and responsive environments, and supports and makes public the work of teaching and learning—all with the goal of helping youth build a just and sustainable world. Her students' favorite projects include frequent inquiry labs, letters to politicians and authors, and monthly self-guided field experiences. Kirstin is a Stanford University Graduate School of Education Alumni Excellence in Education awardee and a Senior Fellow at the Knowles Teacher Initiative, where she is an editor-in-chief for the journal Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. Closer to home, Kirstin coordinates with Indiana University scientists and educators and her local science museum to facilitate and coordinate curriculum for workshops where teachers from across the country learn more about educating for environmental change. Kirstin holds a B.S. with honors in biochemistry/molecular biology and chemistry from Pennsylvania State University; a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford University; and a M.A. in secondary science teaching from the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She is certified in secondary biology, chemistry, and earth science and is a National Board Certified Teacher.