For the first time in her life, Christine Valcich admitted to being speechless.
"I'm sure my students will find that amazing," Valcich said Friday night after she learned she had been selected as this year's Educator of the Year by the Lawrence Schools Foundation.
Valcich, a fifth-grade teacher at Quail Run School, received her award a plaque and a check for $1,000 during the 11th annual Foundation Follies at Liberty Hall, 642 Mass. Each year the foundation recognizes a teacher who has made outstanding contributions to the students of the Lawrence public schools.
The foundation received nominations for Valcich from colleagues, parents, students and former students.
Valcich, who said she knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in the third grade, has spent 12 of her 16 years of teaching in the Lawrence school system.
About 600 people watched the award presentation as well as the follies acts. Late Friday night, the amount of money raised by this year's foundation was still to be determined, director Lori Johns said.
Valcich said she will figure out a way to share her $1,000 winnings with her students.
"If it's a special year for me it should be a special year for them," she said.
The foundation also announced this year's recipients of the Carl Knox Staff Development Grants, named in honor of the former superintendent. This year the foundation will divide $2,000 among five recipients. They are:
l Kathy Pearse, Sunset Hill para-educator.
l Angela Grimes, Parents as Teachers parent educator.
l Bob Hubert, Lawrence Alternative High School science teacher.
l ViAnn Abel, Lawrence Alternative High School English teacher.
l Harriet Shaffer, Southwest Junior High School counselor.
Special recognition was paid to Dorothy Knox, Carl Knox's widow. She celebrates her 85th birthday today.