When a group of Bexley City School District administrators and parents and representatives from the Bexley Education Foundation showed up in Bexley High School math teacher Melissa McCreary's classroom Feb. 13, McCreary said she had no idea at first what was happening.

She soon learned they were there to congratulate her as she had been selected to receive the 2020 Glick Family Bexley Educator of the Year Award.

"I'm honored and flattered to receive this recognition. I appreciate all the amazing people that I get to work with," McCreary said. "It's a privilege to get to work with the kids I get to work with every day."

A Dublin native, McCreary has a bachelor's degree in mathematics education from Miami University and a master's degree in mathematics education from Ohio State University. She began teaching math and geometry at Bexley High School in 2002. She previously taught at Jonathan Alder High School in Plain City.

Presented annually by the Bexley Education Foundation, the Educator of the Year Award is funded by the Glick Family Endowment for the foundation at the Columbus Jewish Foundation. The award recognizes a Bexley educator whose leadership, dedication, achievements and commitment to the classroom and the community have made a difference in children's lives, said Drew Stark, a board member of the Bexley Education Foundation.

Stark was chairman of the selection committee, which also included members of the education foundation's board of governors and representatives from Capital University and other community members.

"There are nominations made from either students, parents, coworkers," Stark said. "There's a committee of seven. We meet and then have a discussion over who we think is the best candidate."

In nominating McCreary for the award, colleagues, parents and students described her as an "agent of change" who advocates for students to reach their full potential. One former student wrote in her nomination that she was "so grateful" because McCreary "never doubted me or my abilities and she inspired me to believe in myself more than ever before."

Former Bexley High School principal Harley Williams described McCreary as "the kind of teacher every principal wants, the kind of teacher every parent wants for their child and the kind of teacher every child deserves."

McCreary will be recognized publicly and presented with a $1,000 cash award and an engraved, commemorative apple at the Bexley City Schools State of the Schools event, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, at the Cassingham Complex Schottenstein Theater, 326 S. Cassingham Road.

Past recipients of the award include: Marge Galloway, Jeff Schneider, Jim Tatman, Karen Haylor, Donna Taylor, Ken Stewart, Scott Logsdon, Carole Ennis, Eric Acton, Terry Black, Molly McCarrick, Sonja Hutchinson, Rose Blanchard, Lisa Viney, Linda Kelley, Amy Johnston Blosser, Amy Dunn, Michael Featherstone, Julie Horger, Michelle Hipsley, Rebecca Rhinehart, Scott King-Owen and Janeen Kimble, according to a press release from the education foundation.