$25K Educator Award Given To Sarasota Math Teacher: Sarasota Schools

SARASOTA, FL — A Riverview High School math teacher was honored during a surprise assembly Tuesday when she was named a national Milken Educator Award recipient.

Ashley Hernandez was one of 60 K-12 educators and leaders across the country honored with the award for the 2021-22 school year. She is the first recipient from Sarasota County Schools since 2002, according to a news release from Milken.

Florida Senior Chancellor of Education Jacob Oliva joined Milken Educator Awards Vice President Stephanie Bishop to present the math teacher with the prestigious honor, which includes an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize.

Hernandez, a Riverview alum, is known for building relationships with her students and offering them support. She leaves motivational stick notes reminding students, “You are enough,” “You are enough” and “You’ve got this” on bulletin boards in the classroom.

“Her positive attitude fosters an environment where students challenge themselves to work hard, driving steadily rising AP Statistics pass rates that have surpassed the state,” Milken said.

“Teachers like Ashley Hernandez have a special gift for making students feel heard and valued,” said Bishop. “Her positive attitude and compassion for the transitions and challenges that high schoolers face create an environment where students can excel in their academic journey and beyond. By consistently elevating instruction at the classroom and school levels, Ashley is broadening her impact on students, peers and the community at large.”

Oliva added, “Ms. Hernandez is an extraordinary mathematics teacher at Riverview High School who is able to make complex mathematics concepts relatable for all students. Ms. Hernandez is a hardworking educator who goes above and beyond for her students. Congratulations, Ashley.”

AP Statistics has grown from 45 to more than 100 students in the five years Hernandez has taught the class, and pass rates on the AP exam have risen steadily, surpassing the state, Milken said.

She also serves on the instructional leadership team at Riverview, heads the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports data team, is a member of the district’s leadership academy, and delivers professional learning on student engagement and instructional technology.

Hernandez heads the school’s Social Committee, organizing programming like therapy dog visits, snacks and COVID-safe staff meals. She also helped design and implement the Freshmen Transition course and oversees various student activities.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary math education from the University of South Florida in 2008, and two master’s degrees from American College of Education, one in curriculum and instruction in 2013, and the other in educational leadership in 2018.

This article originally appeared on the Sarasota Patch