Students in Melissa Elliott’s class at Eastfield Global Magnet School weren’t too surprised when their teacher was named McDowell County Schools’ 2014-15 Teacher of the Year on Tuesday morning.

“Mrs. Elliott is like our mom at school,” said Jessy Becerra. “At first when we came into second grade, we knew nothing about second grade, but by the second day we knew what second grade was about. This year she’s taught us so much about math, reading science, phonics, everything really -- especially math.”

Elliott’s win was announced in her second-grade classroom, where Superintendent Mark Garrett presented the well-loved teacher with a plaque recognizing her achievement.

“I’m happy to present for the first time the McDowell County 2014-15 Teacher of the Year,” said Garrett. “All of the Teachers of the Year do a great job, but the committee just raved and raved about what was going on in your classroom and the dedication you have to your kids. Your principal reiterates that, so we want to pass this honor to you and we’ll know you’ll do a great job.”

Along with her plaque, Elliott also received a ton of hugs from her students, who quickly told how their teacher had made their second-grade school year better.

“She’s helped me with reading the most,” said Miguel Chamberland. “Reading was the hardest subject for me and she helped me so much with that.”

Elliott was amazed by her win and humbled at the fact that she was chosen from so many great candidates.

“It’s amazing and exciting to be Teacher of the Year,” said Elliott. “This honor encourages me to work even harder. It also gives me the confidence that I am on the right track and I am doing the right thing for my kids. I hope it will give me the opportunity to help other teachers to be able to help their kids.”

Eastfield’s Principal Michelle Baker is proud of Elliott and the things she’s helped her students achieve.

“One of the things I want to say, and I said last night, was that she is a Teacher of the Year every day, even when no one is looking,” said Baker. “She has high expectations and structures her class so that it promotes student-to-student learning. She’s made all the shifts that educators are asked to make to prepare kids for the 21st century.”

For her win, Elliott received the Wells Fargo Apple, hand crafted by North Carolina artist Robert Levin. She will also receive a Macbook Air from McDowell County Schools and $1,000 from Wells Fargo to be used for professional advancement and the benefit of the local school program.

The announcement of Elliott’s win came after a banquet on Monday night to honor the finalist for the 2014-15 Teacher of the Year.

Finalist included Marie Warlick, AEC; Michelle Fowler, East McDowell Junior High School; Melissa Elliott, Eastfield Global Magnet School; Katie Carter, Glenwood Elementary; Chrissy Parker, Marion Elementary; Jessica Sutton, McDowell Early College; Miranda Ferguson, McDowell High School; Cheryl Mulvey, Nebo Elementary; Penny Jackson, North Cove Elementary; Stephanie Lytle, Old Fort Elementary; Lynn Freeman, Pleasant Gardens Elementary; Deeana Ray, West Marion Elementary; Hank Hunt, West McDowell Junior High School.