Kindergarten teacher Joyce Greenacre of Windham got a big surprise Tuesday as Wal-Mart honored her with the local “Teacher of the Year” award.

Fellow teachers at Windham Primary School greeted Greenacre with hugs and congratulations as she accepted her award and a $1,000 check on behalf of the school from Wal-Mart representatives.

“I’m really shocked,” said Greenacre, a teacher with 21 years of experience shaping young minds. “I don’t deserve this any more than all of you.”

Teaching aid Angela Logue nominated Greenacre for the award after volunteering in her classroom. In her nomination, Logue wrote of the “gift” Greenacre has for teaching young children and the joy she brings to their lives.

“I have never seen less than a smile on her face,” the nomination read. “Her children run to her open arms with love, as do the children no longer in her class when they see her in the building. She genuinely loves each child and provides building blocks that prepare them for a successful school career.”

And Logue is certainly not alone in her praise for Greenacre.

Assistant Principal Kristin Grant popped into her classroom on Tuesday morning to watch the award-winning teacher at work. That morning, Greenacre took the kids through reading exercises and taught them how to make presents for Mother’s Day, she says.

“She’s an excellent teacher and she really makes the content meaningful to children,” Grant said.

Since the inception of the “Teacher of the Year” program in 1995, Wal-Mart has recognized 25,000 teachers nationwide for their achievements and donated more than $19 million to schools of award winners.

Greenacre is now eligible for Wal-Mart’s annual state and national “Teacher of the Year” award as well as additional educational grants for the Primary School.

When asked what she enjoys about teaching kindergarten, Greenacre says it’s great to watch the children learn.

“It’s just wonderful to see that little light bulb go on in their heads,” she said. “They love to learn. Every day is new and every day is a wonderful challenge.”

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