CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County administrators announced Kate Doctor of Monacan High School as the school system’s “Teacher of the Year 2023.”

Officials surprised the teacher and her students by parading down the high school’s hallways, bringing balloons, flowers, and smiles into Doctor’s class.

“I’m used to a certain level of chaos, Doctor said. “But this was new. This was a new level.”

Students cheered as the beloved teacher accepted her reward from administrators.

“It’s very special. It means a lot to be able to share this and celebrate it with my students and colleagues.”

Doctor teaches in the high school’s Health Professions and Therapies Specialty Center. One of her Freshman students told 8News, the teacher has made a huge difference in her life.

“[Doctor’s] stories and experiments, they just show me how much more I want to go into the medical field,” she explained.

Doctor has been no stranger to taking on new titles this year. She is also a certified athletic trainer and was selected as “Athletic Training Educator of the Year” by the Virginia Athletic Trainers Association. In her classroom, she says real-world experience and immersion are just as important as a lesson plan.

“The secret is community involvement,” Doctor said. “Getting [the students] behind a passion something they’re really interested in.”

She’s taught in the school district since 2005 and added the greatest reward is the ability to foster true connections with her students. Doctor will go on to compete for the role of “Region 1 Teacher of the Year.” Her students say her recognition is well deserved.