Teacher of the Year Celebrates with Students, Faculty - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Teacher of the Year Celebrates with Students, Faculty

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BYNG,OK--A big celebration took place at the Byng School District on Thursday.

Byng is now home to the 2011 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year.

It's quite an honor for the winner, Elizabeth Smith.

Meredith Saldana has more on this story.

It looked a lot like a pep rally, but it wasn't to celebrate a game--it was for something much bigger.

The Byng School District honored seventh grade teacher and basketball coach Elizabeth Smith, who was named Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year Tuesday morning.

Her basketball players say they're not surprised by her impressive accomplishment.

"She's just like really inspirational and she's just such a great person and she helps anyone like not even in basketball but it like carries on into basketball," said Raetchel Gray.

Thursday morning administrators talked about how she's quite the team player. Smith remained humble and says she's excited about the challenges ahead.

"It means opportunity to promote my school. It means opportunity to promote great teachers across the state of Oklahoma and I just hope that I do it justice and do well," said Smith.

We told you with the prestigious award comes many perks like prizes and use of a car, but it also means Smith will leave her classroom and her team to speak across the state.

However, Smith talked to the state Department of Education about the importance of being there for her kids.

"I can guarantee you that instead of taking a day to prepare or a day off I'll be with my team and I'll be with my kids and I am willing to work extra hard to get everything I need done and be there for those kids that need me," she said.

"She's a big part of us," said basketball team member Presli Manuel, "and we want her here."

"She's what makes us kind of like us. She's helps out a lot and she's a great coach," said Gray.

Overall, it was an exciting day for staff, students, and Mrs Smith.

Meredith Saldana, KTEN News