At its meeting Tuesday evening, the Auburn City Council approved a commendation honoring Kimberly Christian Johnson, who was recently named Alabama Teacher of the Year.
Johnson, who teaches at Auburn Junior High School, was also given a key to the city by Auburn Mayor Ron Anders on Tuesday.
"To think that of all the great teachers in this state who give their lives to teach all our wonderful children across the state of Alabama, that she was recognized by her peers and by people in educational leadership position in the state of Alabama and is the very best teacher is, just frankly, awesome," said Anders during a ceremony at Tuesday's meeting, noting that she was selected teacher of the year out of more than 150 applicants. "We're very, very proud of you."
Johnson said she was "honored and blessed to be a part of this city and this community."
"I'll tell anybody that the way we teach kids, the way we approach education, how we take care of our students no matter where they come from, is important, and it's a model for other people," Johnson said. "I think that's part of how and why they chose me because I do love our kids and I believe in them.
"I don't think everybody has what we have here (in Auburn), and so I hope to represent you all the best that I can and just to make you all proud."
Ward 7 Councilman Jay Hovey pulled the commendation honoring Johnson from the consent agenda for a standalone vote.
"I just want to take another opportunity to really highlight and take another opportunity to celebrate Ms. Johnson and our school system," Hovey said. "This city has benefited and profited and blossomed because of our school system for the last two generations, and I mean that seriously."
Hovey took the time to highlight Johnson and Auburn City Schools, in part, because he did not want the honor to go under the radar because it's become something residents expect out of Auburn City Schools.
"We come to expect these blue ribbon schools, these state school teachers of the year," he said. "It's a common thing and a certain level of excellence that we expect from our school system, ... and I'm tickled that we were able to celebrate that tonight."
Mayor Pro Tem Beth Witten agreed with Hovey's assessment, saying "we don't celebrate them enough publicly."