Erin Kawamoto was stunned as she was announced as the Lake Orion Community Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2018-19.
After 16 years at Stadium Drive Elementary, the kindergarten teacher was thinking more about picking up her children after school than she was about the staff announcement.
But when principal Rob Murray began listing off the descriptions, she covered her face, knowing she was the honoree.
As she approached the front of the media center, she got another surprise, as her family emerged from behind a screen for hugs and with flowers.
"I'm just really honored to be chosen," said Kawamoto, who received her bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University and her master's degree from Marygrove College.
The LOCS selection process begins with families submitting an application about a deserving teacher and then it is evaluated at the building level, then the district level before the final stamp.
Kawamoto and Murray now will fill out the details of the Oakland County application as she becomes LOCS' elementary contender for the county-wide award.