Hine earns Teacher of the Year honor

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Kelly Hine knew she was being honored as Union Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Then came the topper when Hine was recognized as Zionsville Community Schools Teacher of the Year.

“I was totally surprised about getting the district honor,” Hine said.

The recognition was announced at the May 9 school board meeting.

“The building nomination comes from colleagues and then we when we knew we had won the building nomination, we wrote a paper explaining our philosophy on education,” she said. “An outside committee read those papers and chose from that. The committee that chose the district award doesn’t know us. They just read the papers and philosophies.”

Hine said the intentional relationships she has forged with students and colleagues motivated her to come to school each day.

“It’s important that happens from the beginning of the year to have a solid relationship with students, families and colleagues,” Hine said. “Developing meaningful and intentional relationships with your entire school community is critical to your happiness and longevity in the teaching profession. I believe if you don’t take time to develop these relationships, you’ll burn out like a lot of teachers have.”

Hine has taught first grade at Union for the past two years and previously taught kindergarten two years at Union and pre-kindergarten for two years at Pleasant View Elementary.

Hine recently completed her 17th year of teaching, including 11 years in Fairfax, Va.

“First grade is my favorite,” she said. “First-graders are my heart. I like the innocence about them. They have a true passion to learn and soak up any information we give them. Every day is the best day ever to them. Even if you felt it was a hard day as a teacher, they felt it was one of their best days. They are so excited about anything you do with them and show them you are truly interested in them and care for them. They give all those things back to me. They don’t even know they are blessings me, but their little smiles and the little notes they give me are encouragement I need to get me through those hard times.”

Union Elementary Principal Erin Kay said Hine receives much praise from her colleagues.

“In my humble opinion, Kelly Hine truly exemplifies the excellence of all of our ZCS teachers through her collaborative team approach and the commitment and care she shows her students each and every day to ensure they are learning and growing,” Kay said. “As the principal of Union Elementary, I am proud to call her a colleague, and it is a true honor to work by her side.”

Hine, a Bethesda Christian High School graduate who grew up in Lebanon, is a graduate of Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, Wis.

Hine has taught first grade for most of her career but has also taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and elementary physical education.

In her free time, Hine enjoys spending time with family, watching football, working out at Eat the Frog and attending her students’ extracurricular activities.

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