The Hilliard High School Alumni Association named Nicole Braet its Educator of the Year on April 24.
Braet, a second-grade teacher at Scioto Darby Elementary School, was among 15 teachers recognized as Educators of Excellence at the association's annual awards ceremony.
The association accepts nominations from each district building.
The Educator of the Year is selected from among the Educators of Excellence, but the winner is not revealed until the ceremony.
"I had no idea," Braet said. "It was a shock."
Among those who nominated Braet was Farrah McKenzie, whose son, Elijah, is in Braet's classroom.
"She identified things early to help Elijah be successful," McKenzie said. "She sees Elijah as a whole student beyond what happens in the classroom."
"She is wonderful and very caring," Elijah said of his teacher.
Braet has taught for 20 years in Hilliard schools. She is a 1987 graduate of Westerville South High School and has a master's degree in education.
She said her aunt inspired her to become a teacher.
She lives in Upper Arlington with her husband, three sons and one daughter.
The other 14 Educators in Excellence recognized April 24 were:
* Kathy Anderson, Tharp Sixth Grade School
* Drew Barton, Memorial Middle School
* Brenda Boring, Brown Elementary School
* Kris Cave, Ridgewood Elementary School
* Neil Ferreri, Weaver Middle School
* Melissa Headley, Horizon Elementary School
* Richard Kelch, Heritage Middle School
* Kimberle Kembitzky, Davidson High School
* Susan Montgomery, Norwich Elementary School
* Cindy Peyton, Hoffman Trails Elementary School
* Marsha Pfahl, Britton Elementary School
* Terri Root, Alton Darby Elementary School
* Nina Rossi, Darby High School
* Jayne West-McLinn, Bradley High School