When Carol Biskupic Knight shut her classroom doors last spring, she, like many teachers, felt a sense of panic. But adapting to remote learning requires ingenuity and gumption, and Carol has those qualities in droves.
“Overhauling my entire approach to teaching amid a global pandemic felt incomprehensible at first, but we have come a long way,” said Biskupic Knight. “My students and I went from minimal face-to-face time last spring to spending a full day together engaged and making a direct connection every day.”
A nationally recognized leader in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Biskupic Knight is a 4th grade teacher at Sato Elementary in Beaverton, Ore. She has spent her 41-year career developing a teaching experience that takes students on adventures in learning, building their natural curiosity.
While transforming her award-winning lesson plans into an engaging virtual experience has kept her busier than ever, Biskupic Knight says the work gives her the energy, joy and light she needs as she cares for her husband, who is battling early-onset Alzheimer’s in a memory care facility.
“After sending three kids through college, we have a hefty mortgage, and we’ve had to spend our family’s life savings to keep our home and continue providing memory care for my husband,” Biskupic Knight said.
As her husband’s illness progressed last year, two of Biskupic Knight’s colleagues banded together and nominated her for the 2020 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education Educator of the Year award. They understood the impact of Carol’s contributions and how much the award’s financial component would help her and her family.
On May 26, 2020, two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Biskupic Knight was named one of OnPoint’s 2020 Educators of the Year for her work in evolving how science education is taught in her classroom, district, state and nation.
“The financial aspect of OnPoint’s Prize is phenomenal and needed more than ever,” said Biskupic Knight. “The increasing care costs, especially during COVID, was such a worry. The OnPoint mortgage payment for the year has been a huge relief.”
Since the Prize for Excellence Education began in 2010, OnPoint has awarded more than $470,000 in prizes to 285 outstanding local educators and schools. OnPoint’s 2021 contest will award up to $100,000 to outstanding local public or private K-12 teachers and schools.
“Winning Educator of the Year truly felt like winning the Academy Award of teaching,” said Biskupic Knight. “What OnPoint is doing is elevating excellence in teaching to the recognition level that it deserves. I am honored to have received this prestigious award in this amazing field, and I cannot begin to thank OnPoint enough for what they’ve done for not only my family, but the entire education community.”
Honoring outstanding educators like Carol Biskupic Knight is more crucial than ever as they adapt to the realities and stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about nominating a special educator in your life, visit www.onpointprize.com.