Katie Biltimier received some unexpected but welcome visitors at her Carmel home.
The Carmel Elementary School special education teacher was told by her husband she needed to end her Zoom call and come to the front door.
Biltimier received the surprise announcement May 7 of being named Carmel Clay Schools’ Stephen A. Backer Teacher of the Year. The honor included decorative yard signs, flowers, balloons and a car parade led by school resource officer Matthew Broadnax. Carmel Elementary Principal Megan Klinginsmith, Assistant Principal Rebecca Nickless, Supt. Michael Beresford and other school administrators celebrated her honor from a safe distance.
It was a bigger surprise because Biltimier didn’t know she was her school’s winner. The coronavirus pandemic closed the schools before an announcement was made.
Normally, the CCS Teacher of the Year is announced at a banquet with all the individual school winners in attendance.
“It was different but awesome,” said Biltimier, who is married with three children in Carmel schools. “I loved that my family could be a part of it, so that was special. There were so many staff members that came to celebrate with me. It was very cool.”
Biltimier said she was humbled by the announcement.
“It’s something I never expected,” she said. “I work really hard. I love what I do. I work with amazing people. I share it with all of them because I couldn’t do all what I do for kids without all of their support. It’s a very collaborative job. It’s a different position than just a classroom teacher.”
A selection committee consisting of teachers and administrators reviews the nominations from each school and conducts interviews with the candidate’s principal and nominator.
Biltimier was a student teacher at Carmel High School in the spring of 1995. She started at CHS in January 1996 and spent the remainder of that school year there. She then taught at Franklin Central Middle School from 1996 to 2003 before taking a break when she had children. She became a special education instructional assistant at Prairie Trace Elementary in 2012. In 2013, she joined Carmel Elementary as a special education teacher.
“It is a privilege to work alongside Katie each day. She inspires educators around her with her devotion to students, eagerness to collaborate and incredible work ethic,” Klinginsmith said. “Katie always puts children first, and we all love working with her.”
Biltimier said she loves building connections with her students and following them throughout their elementary school years.
“An awesome part of my job is you really get to be part of their growth from the time they start working with you at a younger age and then when they leave as fifth-graders,” Biltimier said.