KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One Class at a Time is excited to announce a third winner, Brittany Gash from the Hickman Mills School District.
Her principal, Connie Moore, nominated Gash for the award.
"I'd tell her first don't be mad," Moore said with a smile when asked what she would tell Gash. "Because she doesn't like any kind of recognition, but man, she so deserves it."
Gash is a teacher at Ingels Elementary.
"She just puts so much passion into what she does and I just want her to know how proud I am to have her on my staff," Moore said. "She just makes a difference won’t only with her kids but every kid in the school.
Before revealing the surprise, 41 Action News talked with Gash about what she wants her students to know after they leave her classroom.
"I want them to think of fun memories that they have, and teachers that were caring and caring of their needs," she said.
To her colleagues and her students' families, she is a teacher who is going above and beyond that statement.
Gash is a life skills teacher, working with students of all abilities from kindergarten through fifth grade.
"We have a lot of children who have limited mobility, limited verbal skills, but they're just amazing kids," Moore said. "We have had to really depend on the families more this year with our kids in the life skills room because of their special needs and she's just made sure they've had all the assisted technology."
Moore said some of her students were having a hard time using the iPads, so Gash made sure that other things, like styluses, were purchased.
For Gash, teaching doesn't stop when the bell rings.
"Our students need us to advocate for them in lots of different lights and I think it's important as educators to remember that it's not just academics," Gash said. "You're focusing on a student's life, even when they leave you, it has an impact on them."
41 Action News surprised Gash with the award for making that impact on her students.
"This was the last thing I expected to be honest," Gash said. "I am very thankful, and grateful, thank you."
Moore was excited to finally let the secret out.
"I got you," Moore said to Gash with a laugh.
Moore also shared how Gash welcomes students from other classroom into her room. That way, students can have buddies who can help them with classroom projects.
Each Thanksgiving, her students create a Thanksgiving meal for all their families to attend.
In the Spring semester, they transform their classroom into an Italian bistro. Students decorate tables with formal place settings, create a menu, take orders and serve meals to staff and families.
To nominate a teacher you believe deserves a $500 gift card for their efforts in the classroom and going the extra mile, head over to https://www.kshb.com/news/one-class-at-a-time.