It was the best-kept secret in Pass Christian.
“I had no idea I was going to win this,” said Pass High School principal Robyn Killebrew.
Killebrew on Friday was honored in front of her faculty, student body and dignitaries including Mississippi Superintendent of Education Carey Wright. She was the recipient of the 2017 Milken Educator Award. She was the only recipient of the award in the state. And it not only came with the prestige and recognition, Killebrew also received $25,000.
“We find the best of the best in education in the country,” Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Jane Foley said. “We heard about Pass Christian and the great things going on at this school — you don’t apply for this award, you don’t get nominated for this award, we find you; this award is so prestigious it’s called the ‘Oscars of education.’ ”
Foley said Killebrew was recognized for her accomplishments as the leader of Pass High. In 2016, U.S. News and World Report selected the high school No. 1 in the state in its annual rankings and awarded it a silver medal based on students’ level of college preparedness. The school received an “A” rating within the state and, Foley said, increased its ACT scores and graduation rate.
In 2016, Pass High had a gradation rate of 89 percent.
For Killebrew, who has been in education for 12 years and has spent the last decade with the Pass Christian School District, the award was a team effort.
“We have an amazing faculty here and amazing students and a great community,” she said. “Its about the relationships — when I heard that someone at the school was going to win this award, it could have been anyone of our faculty members; it’s such a blessing to be a part of this.”
Killebrew, who has been principal at Pass High for four years, is a third generation educator, following in the footsteps of her grandmother and mom. She will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in March as part of a panel of Milken Award winners. She said she looks forward to sharing the school’s vision and mission with the nation.
“We feel we have something very special here at Pass High and the fact that we can share that with others and learn from them, as well, is very humbling.”
About the series
Our Kind of People is a feature in the Sun Herald and at SunHerald.com that spotlights South Mississippi people whose life or work is an inspiration to others.