Kathy Hiteman announced earlier this year that she will be retiring after the school year. She received a fantastic going away present recently.
Hiteman was presented with a Crystal Apple Award from WMTV-Ch. 15 anchor Leigh Mills on April 26. She was one of five area teachers to be honored this year. The segment about Hiteman will air on Ch. 15's newscast at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 11.
"It was a beautiful retirement surprise,'' she said. "I know many teachers get nominated for this award and I never thought I would receive it. It turned into quite a little party, which is great, because I am not having an official retirement party at all.''
Hiteman, a sixth-grade science and literacy teacher at Kromrey, had had no idea she had been nominated or selected. She was nominated by two of her former students, one who is currently a sophomore at MHS while the other moved to Verona in the middle of this school year.
"Everyone kept it a complete secret from me and they did a great job,'' she said. "They wrote beautiful nomination letters.''
On the day of the presentation, Hiteman was giving a science test to her students when another teacher brought her class into the room.
"Then they all sat and stared at me and I couldn't figure out what was going on,'' Hiteman said. "Then I saw Leigh and her cameraman along with my husband, son, daughter, mom, and some former students and their families. ... I was completely surprised. I loved that my family could be there -- including my son and daughter who had to skip a couple of college classes -- to celebrate with me. That was really awesome.''
Besides being very excited for their teacher, Hiteman noticed something else about her students.
"They were amazed at how heavy the actual award is,'' she said.
The 23rd annual Crystal Apple Awards were sponsored by Furniture & Appliance Mart, Genesis Exteriors and Hilton Garden Inn.
It is the fifth time in seven years a Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District staff member has received a Crystal Apple Award. Northside's Sharon Brown was honored in 2012, Park's Amy Callies received the award in 2013, MHS band teacher Brad Schneider won an award in 2015 and MHS speech and language pathologist Katie Meves was honored in 2017.
Hiteman was also one of 102 teachers to receive the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2012.
"I am so lucky to have been able to work for this amazing District,'' Hiteman said. "I am going to miss everyone.''