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Two South Dakota teachers receive national excellence awards

School choice and school segregation
LA Johnson

Two South Dakota teachers have received a national Milken Educator Award. The award recognizes K-12 teachers and administrators who are furthering excellence in education. One award recipient is Camrin Vaux a middle school science teacher in Brookings.

Jackelyn Severin spoke with the other recipient, a high school math teacher from Pierre, and has this story for SDPB.

Nicole Bowman teaches algebra and geometry at T.F. Riggs High school in Pierre. She has taught for 15 years and uses small group instruction to personalize learning.

Bowman says she spends time working on her student’s mindset in the classroom. She wants her students to believe they can be good at math.

“I encourage the efforts that are given, especially after the mistakes are made, because that shows the perseverance. And so, making sure my students know that it’s not necessarily about the outcome, it’s about that process. And, and I try to make sure that it is applied to their life as well. It’s not about the outcome always. It’s about the process that you took and what you learned in that process.”

Bowman supports her students outside of the classroom, as well. She attends concerts, athletic events, and other extracurricular activities. She also takes time to mentor other teachers and has led regional best practice workshops for math educators.

The Milken Educator Award will go to 60 people nationwide this school year. It comes with a 25-thousand-dollar prize that Bowman can use however she wants. She hasn’t decided what she will do with the money yet but says, for now, she’s thankful for the honor. Bowman says she is also thankful for the support of her colleagues and administrators who have helped her become a better teacher.