A good day of teaching was interrupted Jan. 6 at Kingswood Elementary School, when a “surprise patrol” made its way into the classroom of veteran educator Sue Creekmore.
It was Bob Conigliaro, vice president of communications for Casper Company McDonald’s Restaurants, who had the honor of telling Creekmore exactly why her day would be like no other in her 34 years of teaching.
“Some of you kids might not know, in Hillsborough County, where you go to school, there are 15,000 teachers, 236 of them are the Teacher of the Year at their schools,” he said. “But only five are chosen as a finalist for Teacher of the Year in the eighth-largest [school district] in the country and Miss Creekmore is one of those teachers.”
Loud clapping, punctuated with even louder shouts of congratulations, followed, at which time the enormity of the moment became even more clearer to Creekmore as Conigliaro resumed speaking.
“So, after 34 years of teaching, and the thousands of children that have been blessed to have you as their teacher, you are being honored in this county as the best of the best,” Conigliaro.
Then, as would be expected of any good teacher, Creekmore turned the attention away from herself and onto her fourth-grade students.
“They’re wonderful children,” she said, “a wonderful school, and I’m honored to represent everybody."
Pointing to her seated students, she added: “These are the best right here."