Greylock School kindergarten teacher Maryrose Calnan accepts the Marion B. Kelly Teacher of the Year Award on Thursday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — In 1975, when Maryrose Calnan started teaching kindergarten at the former Johnson School, her principal was Marion B. Kelly.
Nearly 40 years later, Calnan was surprised when the annual Marion B. Kelly Teacher of the Year Award was presented at Greylock School on Thursday - to her.
The award is given annually in North Adams to a dedicated and skillful teacher, grades pre-K through 12, who has thorough knowledge of his/her subjects and who understands and likes children. The winner is nominated by his/her peers.
Or, as Superintendent James Montepare put it to all the Greylock students gathered in the cafeteria, "We search hard and hard and hard ... to find who one of the best teachers in North Adams is."
This year, that search landed on Calnan, who started as a kindergarten teacher at Johnson before moving up to teach reading to sixth-graders at the old Conte Middle School before eventually landing at Greylock teaching kindergarten again.
And she gives those kindergartners a solid educational base on which to grow, Greylock Principal Sandra Cote said.
"The kids who come into her class, you know they're going to be successful," Cote said. "Parents relax. They know their kids are being cared for."
It was clear how much Calnan cares for those kids, as so many of them stopped to hug her on their way out of the cafeteria. Calnan kept her composure despite the surprise and delight she felt at being honored.
And she was surprised, she said, as she listened to Montepare's introduction.
"I had no clue until you said Johnson School," she told him after the presentation. "I was just so thrilled it was a Greylock School teacher. I kept thinking every one of them deserved it."
Cote agreed with that.
"It is a nice honor," she said about the award going to a Greylock teacher, the first time in her 10 years as principal that has happened. "We have teachers who work hard every day."
By the applause of the students and her fellow teacher, it was clear the Greylock community knows Calnan is one of the best.
"I just love my job and have loved it forever," she said in accepting the award. "Thank you so much."