Third Grade Teacher from O’Fallon Wins Prestigious Milken Award


Jessica Karll, a third grade teacher at Discovery Ridge Elementary School in O’Fallon, has been named the winner of a Milken Educator Award that includes an unrestricted cash prize of $25,000. Wentzville R-IV district officials called a surprise assembly for the announcement today at Discovery Ridge. Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley of the Milken Educator Awards made the presentation. Dr. Margie Vandeven, deputy commissioner of education, was on hand for the celebration and helped surprise Mrs. Karll.

“Jessica is deeply dedicated to the teaching profession and to her students, and that is reflected in this tremendous honor,” said Dr. Vandeven. “Because of teachers like Jessica, Missouri can make progress toward its goal of ranking among the top ten states in education by 2020.”

Mrs. Karll has taught third grade at Discovery Ridge Elementary since 2010. She serves as co-chair of the CHARACTERplus Caring School Community committee and chairs the Missouri Assessment Program committee for the school. Prior to her career at Discovery Ridge, Mrs. Karll worked at Prairie View Elementary, also in the Wentzville R-IV district. She was named Discovery Ridge Elementary Teacher of the Year and the Wentzville School District Teacher of the Year in 2011-12. Mrs. Karll received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and holds a master’s degree from Lindenwood University. She is currently working toward her master’s degree in school administration from Lindenwood.

The Milken Educator Awards are given each year to outstanding K–12 teachers, principals and specialists who are furthering excellence in education. Missouri has been participating in the Milken Awards since 1996. Since then, a total of 45 Missouri educators have been honored with the Milken prize. Recipients join the Milken Educator Network, a group of distinguished educators fostering effective educational leadership.

Preparing, developing and supporting effective educators is a primary goal of Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to rank among the top ten states in educational performance by 2020.