Hamburg Elementary instructor Brenda Brandt poses with family members after receiving the 2019 Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Award in ceremonies at Marnie Simons Elementary School.

(Photo by Ryan Matheny, KMA News)

By Mike Peterson, KMA

Some teachers in KMAland got a nice surprise Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

The first recipients of the 2019 Charles E. Lakin Outstanding Teacher Awards were announced in surprise ceremonies at area school districts. KMA and the Green Hills Area Education Agency sponsor the awards each year to honor teachers within a 40-mile radius of the late philanthropist’s hometown of Emerson. Awards go out each year to two elementary and two secondary instructors nominated by peers and the general public.

Marnie Simons Elementary School in Hamburg was the site of a special ceremony for the first elementary recipient, Hamburg kindergarten instructor Brenda Brandt.

KMA emcee Dean Adkins asked Brandt her feelings on being a recipient.

“It’s quite an honor I never thought that I would deserve this, because we have too many other deserving teachers,” Brandt said. “But, I love what I’m doing. I really can’t stand it when I miss a day, because I love all my kids. I usually cry on the last day of school when I lose them, and go on to first grade.”

Brandt, a resident of Fairfax, Missouri, says her desire to teach came from an early age. “I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “Ever since I was little – from probably 4th grade on. I would babysit. I would volunteer at the school. At the high school, they had to send me home, because I was never sick. I was always there, and helped the other students.”

Hamburg School Superintendent Dr. Mike Wells says Brandt is just one part of an excellent teaching staff.

“I have never met a person who loved kids more than Miss Brandt,” said Wells. “I mean, she’s bringing coats to kids who need it, shoes – anything you need, you know you can come to Miss Brandt. And, the real test is we have high school kids who still come back, and see Miss Brandt, and ask for help. That says a lot. Later on, kindergartners, when you’re my age, you’re going to reflect back on this woman, and say, ‘she changed my life.’ That’s the greatest compliment you can give to a teacher.”

Each recipient receives $10,000, with $2,500 going to their schools.