Lisa Steele is one of three teachers honored as a Hamilton County Teacher of the Year. The 32 year educational veteran is a second grade teacher at Ooltewah Elementary.
"There's so many outstanding teachers, and to get to represent all those teachers for this year, that was outstanding. It just makes me feel so very special. I just hope to reflect that for all the teachers, that we do appreciate being acknowledged."
Steele was joined by Nolan Elementary School 5th grade teacher Kathee Jones and Tyner Academy English teacher Tiffany Williams as an award recipient. An award that includes a very luxurious perk, a brand new car for one year.
"Volkswagen and Kia have stepped up to actually provide a very, very nice gift, incentive if you will, to support the teacher of the year program," said Rick Smith, Hamilton County School Superintendent.
"The most important thing we can do as parents is to offer the best education possible to our kids and the teachers are the single most important part of that, so we are just trying to recognize that most important part of education," added Brad Cobb, the president of the Bower Automotive Group.
For dedicated educators like Steele, the bigger prize may be what she found inside her vehicle.
"When we open up the trunk, the elementary materials are in the trunk. There is a years supply of paper, school paperwork from Top Flight. There are goodie bags and gift cards and just a trunk load full of gifts, so it is just an exceptionally good treat that we are being given."
In the end, just the acknowledgement of making a difference is enough.
"Everything from a child's note that we save for over 30 years, to notes from parents, to exceptional gifts like this, you know from the community. All that put together makes us feel supported in what we are doing, and it helps so much."
The three award winners have a combined 63 years of teaching experience.