Teacher holding bouquet of pink roses

Third grade inclusion teacher Allison Gonzalez thought it was just a normal school assembly for students and staff at Kelly School when she entered the cafeteria and started heading for a seat in the back of the room earlier this month. 

Startled by cheers and applause from those in attendance, she was soon face to face with reporters from the Western Mass News Surprise Squad who were there to honor her for her inspiring work as a classroom teacher. Her story will air  on Western Mass News on Wednesday, November 22, the day before Thanksgiving. Representatives from local Hyundai car dealerships sponsored the event.

In addition to the fun surprise, Ms. Gonzalez received a check for $500 that she can spend as she chooses, while Kelly School received a check for $400 to support school activities. Those assembled for this moment of surprise were also invited to a table filled with light snacks and self-care items such as bandaids, hand sanitizer, tissues, first-aid ointment, hair brushes, toothbrushes, and more.

Nominated for this special recognition by her husband, Mrs. Gonzalez has been part of the Kelly School community since May 2017. She began as a substitute teacher and progressed into a paraprofessional position before obtaining her certification to become a special education teacher. She is now a member of the Kelly Instructional Leadership Team and serves as both a teacher mentor and q leader on the special education team. She was also awarded a Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award in March 2023.