Art Hood is turning in his textbooks and grading pencils, after more than 30 years in public education -- 22 of them at Pine-Strawberry Elementary School.
Friends, family, fellow teachers and former students surprised Hood with a retirement party April 28 in the school gym.
On Tuesday in his classroom, Hood received yet another surprise, when he was honored as the Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year.
For having an instructor selected Teacher of the Year, Pine-Strawberry School received a $1,000 educational grant from Wal-Mart.
As the local winner, Hood is eligible to apply for the State Teacher of the Year award. State winners received a $10,000 grant for the schools. State winners are automatically entered in the national competition.
Some previous local Teacher of the Year winners include Alane Eaton, Gloria Joe, Wayne Gorry and Janice Hoyt.
The Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year program is one of the largest teacher recognition programs in the United States. Since its inception in 1995, more the 25,000 teachers have received awards. Also, about $19 million has been donated to the schools with winning teachers.