Kim Witte, a second-grade teacher at Esquire Hills Elementary School, was surprised Sept. 17 at a school assembly when she received the state’s K-5 American Legion Educator of the Year award.
The school knew about the award Witte was going to receive but kept it a secret until the assembly. That’s when Terry Bryan, state vice commander for American Legion, stood in front of the assembly crowd and told students and staff that she was to receive the accolade.
“The teacher does not know yet so we have to try to be careful and keep it a secret,” Bryan said to the assembled crowd. “But I bet you when I start reading this, you will know who she is. And so will the teacher.”
The award recognizes teachers for professional development, letters of recognition, strong family values, and community service. Witte takes annual trips to bring school supplies to Malawi, Africa.
“She was everything a parent would want for their child’s teacher,” Bryan went on to say. “[My son] and the rest of his classmates were welcomed, encouraged and supported from the minute the bell rang.”
“You have an outstanding educator here,” said Robert Clark, state commander of American Legion. “We want to award this educator and let her know that … everybody appreciates her. The educators in this room are building the foundation for your future.”
Witte then took the microphone to address students and staff.
“Esquire Hills, this was a huge surprise for me,” she said. “What I want you to do though right now, is I want you to look at your teacher that you have this year, and I want you to clap for them because they too are a great teacher.”
Students responded with applause and once dismissed, Witte’s students surrounded and hugged her.