Neshoba Central teacher receives prestigious educator award

Jan. 20—Neshoba Central Elementary teacher Kristien "Krissy" Long was recently presented with the Milken Educator Award, a prestigious national honor recognizing exceptional educators for excellence and innovation in education.

Bestowed by the Milken Family Foundation during a coast-to-coast tour, the award includes an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize that recipients may use however they choose. Long was one of two recipients chosen from Mississippi this season, along with Jennifer Hite of Pearl.

"Krissy Long is a beacon of inspiration for her students and illuminates a path to excellence for them through her immense dedication and creativity," said Milken Educator Awards Vice President Stephanie Bishop, who is a 2001 Virginia Milken Educator herself. "Her inspiring instructional practices, unwavering commitment to her students, school and community, and seamless integration of real-world applications into her math and science curriculum are some of the ways she personifies the qualities of a Milken Educator. Today we celebrate her and welcome her to our national network."

The 2023-2024 Milken Awards will honor up to 75 recipients across the country as part of the Milken Family Foundation's journey to the 3,000th Milken educator. This year will reach $75 million in individual financial prizes spanning the length of the initiative and more than $144 million invested in the Milken Educator Award national network overall, empowering recipients to "Celebrate, Elevate, and Activate" the K-12 profession and inspiring young, capable people to pursue teaching as a career.

"The Mississippi Department of Education congratulates Kristien Long for earning this national award that recognizes her innovative approach to teaching math and science at Neshoba Central Elementary," said interim state Superintendent of Education Dr. Raymond C. Morgigno who was present for the Jan. 10 announcement. "Her leadership, both in and outside the classroom, truly sets a standard for excellence in education."

Long earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education in 2016 from Mississippi State University and a Master of Education in educational leadership from Mississippi College in 2023.

She employs a hands-on approach in her classroom that makes learning an immersive, engaging experience for her fifth-grade math and science students at Neshoba Central Elementary. By exploring the 'why' behind each problem, her students not only understand the concepts, but also grasp their practical applications, improving their overall retention of new material.

Long goes beyond conventional teaching methods by integrating her lessons into real-life scenarios like using the menu at a local Mexican restaurant to compute the bill, and creating videos on her YouTube channel for students and their parents to better understand the steps to solve a math or science problem.

This year's educator honorees will attend an all-expenses-paid Milken Educator Awards Forum in Los Angeles this June, where they will network with their new colleagues, as well as veteran Milken Educators and other education leaders, about how to broaden their impact on K-12 education.

Contact Glenda Sanders at gsanders@themeridianstar.com.