GLEN ELLYN – When Hadley Junior High School literacy teacher Hillary Shumate heard about a last-minute assembly for sixth- and seventh-grade students and staff, she had no idea it was in her honor.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said.
The surprise gathering was organized by school administration after they learned Shumate had been selected to receive the Illinois PTA Outstanding Teacher Award.
The Hadley PTA submitted Shumate’s name for consideration, said Kristin Massey, who is secretary of the group and president of the Glen Ellyn School District 41 PTA Council.
“Hillary goes above and beyond,” Massey said. “We wanted her to be recognized.”
A Hadley teacher for 12 years, Shumate created a PTA-sponsored event, POW!, which stands for “powerful outstanding women.” POW! provides an opportunity for sixth- to eighth-grade girls to participate in empowering programs with special women in their lives.
Shumate also sits on district committees specializing in professional development and continuous improvement.
“I really love what I do,” she said.
The assembly to recognize her accomplishments was held only two days after administrators received word Shumate won the award, and none of the staff knew what it was about until they arrived.
“It was just so touching,” she said. “All the kids were telling me ‘congratulations’ in the hallway.”
Shumate officially accepted the award Friday at the Illinois PTA Convention at the Sheraton Lisle Hotel.