In addition to teaching at Lake Forest Hills Elementary, Anna Susan Trulock spends each week instructing a Sunday school class for middle school girls.
Throughout October, the theme of the group focused on remaining humble – no matter what happens in life.
"I truly believe God was preparing me," Trulock said. "That was his way of letting me know something was about to happen."
On Wednesday evening, Trulock – a 13-year educator – was named Teacher of the Year for the Richmond County school system. She earned the honor over fellow finalists Vanessa Patten (Wheeless Road Elementary), Diane R. Collier (Tutt Middle), Lindsay Girosky (Blythe Elementary) and Scott Williams (Deer Chase Elementary).
Trulock was honored with gifts, including a plaque, items from Windsor Jewelers, $500 and a blue blazer with the Richmond County school system logo.
"My husband is from Augusta and he was so proud of me," Trulock said. "He goes, 'We finally have a jacket in our family!' It's just blue, not green."
Two days before the banquet, Lake Forest Hills held a parade for Trulock and Lindsay Girosky, who left for Blythe Elementary last year.
Trulock said kids created signs and lined hallways, while cheering for one of their teachers to bring home the coveted award. The morning after Trulock's triumph, an electronic sign outside the school read: "CONGRATS to our RCSS TOTY Anna Susan Trulock."
"Mrs. Trulock is a true asset to our students and there's no question she deserves this honor," said Dr. Emily Driggers, the principal of Lake Forest Hills Elementary. "Our school is so proud of her – truly so excited. Every day, Mrs. Trulock helps establish a strong foundation in the lives of our children."
Since winning the award, Trulock has received numerous congratulatory calls and text messages, and was also sent balloons from parents.
Dr. Phyllis Johnson-Porter (Jenkins-White Elementary School) won the award last year . This is the fifth year in a row an elementary school teacher has won the honor.
"Having this amount of support means a great deal," Trulock said. "It really does. This is my second school, and I've definitely found a home here."