Janice Hoyt, a fifth-grade teacher at Julia Randall Elementary School in Payson, was named Teacher of the Year this week by Payson Wal-Mart as part of Wal-Mart's 11th annual Teacher of the Year program.
The recognition came in honor of National Teacher's Day, May 9.
Hoyt received a $1,000 grant for the school, a $100 gift card to buy supplies for her classroom, a Teacher of the Year polo shirt and a personalized certificate.
Hoyt was so overwhelmed by the award, all she could say was "Wow" and "Thank you." Later, she said, "I want to thank Wal-Mart for contributing so much to the community.
"We have so many wonderful, hard-working teachers at JRE and in the district, I wish more could be recognized."
She is still trying to decide about how to spend the money for her classroom.
"I'm just savoring the moment. So much is needed in the school, I hope the money is spent wisely."
Nationwide, the Wal-Mart program, held in partnership with Phi Delta Kappa International, a professional education association, presented awards to more than 4,000 teachers this week.
"The teachers in our area are superb," said Quinn Cremer, manager of the Payson Wal-Mart. "The selection process was not an easy one, but we are happy to announce our recipient and share this great news with our community."
Generally, teachers are nominated by members of the community and selected by a committee of store associates.
However, in Hoyt's case, letters from her students led to her selection. Some of the comments from the letters:
"I think Ms. Hoyt deserves the prize. Ms. Hoyt always makes sure we understand what we are doing and if we don't, she goes step by step until we understand. If we get a bad score, she gives us an opportunity to redo for 10 more points. ... Another thing is that she likes art and so do I. I learned a lot, and I hope that other kids can learn like I have," said one student.
"I am going to make the most of the time I have left in the fifth grade," said another.
Winning teachers also have the opportunity to apply for state Teacher of the Year honors.