The Missoula Education Foundation presents a special award each year to teachers in the elementary, secondary and high schools, and the final award for the year was presented in a surprise ceremony on Thursday to a teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary School.

The foundation’s Executive Director Susan Tower said the award caught the teacher completely by surprise, as the Lewis and Clark gymnasium was already full to capacity for the annual end of the year talent show.

“The Elementary Educator of the Year was Mrs. Kathy Dungan,” said Tower. “Yes, there was a talent show going on that afternoon, and I didn’t realize there were so many other things scheduled for the day. Our student board read off the names of the other teachers who had been nominated from Lewis and Clark, and the kids were already completely excited. It was almost like a Beatles concert, they were so excited.”

But the gymnasium really erupted when Mrs. Dungan’s name was announced.

“When we called Kathy’s name they just completely went nuts,” she said. “As she was coming down out of the bleachers, she was sitting with her class, and the kids were all trying to high-fiver her on the way down, it was just so cute. She seemed very excited and just very touched.”

The other teachers to receive awards for the 2018-2019 school year include Tammy Allison from Sentinel High School and Chris Whiteman from C.S. Porter Middle School.

Dungan received a check from the Foundation for $750.