Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - At a special ceremony with staff, teachers, and families at Missoula’s Lewis and Clark Elementary School on Monday, 4th-grade teacher Kim O’Connor was named the Elementary Educator of the Year.

Susan Tower, Executive Director of the Missoula Education Foundation made the announcement just after classes were dismissed.

Kim O'Connor Named Elementary Educator of the Year for MCPS

“We talked at length about whether to award this educator in her classroom or here with the staff and Alana really wanted to do it with the staff,” began Tower. “So we also invited her family who was hanging out behind the scenes, so our Elementary Educator of the Year this year is Miss Kimberly O'Connor (cheers…)”

Tower introduced a guest from Stockman Bank who presented O’Connor with some special gifts.

O'Connor Received Special Gifts from area Merchants

“So Kim will receive a $1,000 classroom gift to use in her classroom next year funds available on July 1,” she said. Thanks to Stockman Bank, there's a gift card and some stuff and some other stuff for you to enjoy this summer. Congratulations! We're so excited to honor you.”

I spoke to O’Connor after the ceremony, who said she has been teaching at Lewis and Clark for many years.

“I've been at Lewis and Clark for 18 years teaching third and fourth grade,” said O’Connor. “I taught five years of special education at Cold Springs (now Jeannette Rankin Elementary School) and I'm actually moving to Special Ed next year.”

READ MORE: MONTANA’S TOP SCHOOL DISTRICT NAMED FOR 2024

O'Connor said Teaching was more than a Job; it was a Calling

Like many teachers I’ve spoken to over the years, O’Connor said teaching was more than just a career, it was a calling.

“I believe that this was my calling to do this work,” she said. “I've always wanted to be a teacher and I feel really lucky because this is what I get to do every day.”

June 7 is the final day of school for MCPS (Missoula County Public Schools).

What Grows Well in a Montana Garden?

Montana gardeners and beginners alike, have so many options when it comes to growing a decent garden in our difficult climate.

Gallery Credit: mwolfe

More From 94.9 KYSS FM