Friday morning was full of surprises for Kelly Allington.
She spilled a mug of coffee all over herself, then had to rush to an all-school assembly - where she found out she was awarded this year's Winona Teacher of the Year.
"I'm very excited and proud," said Allington, who teaches second grade at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School. "It's such an honor to represent Winona-area school teachers."
Practically everyone thought they were attending a normal assembly Friday at W-K. The students said the Pledge of Allegiance, sang "America the Beautiful," then learned the kindergartners had won the Golden Spoon award for good behavior in the lunch line.
Then 2011 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Katy Smith told students why she was filled with so much pride in her community, W-K, students and fellow teachers, announcing Allington's name for the award.
When Smith introduced Allington, she gripped her hand with nervous excitement.
"Its OK to hold someone's hand if you are nervous," Smith told the students. She eventually let go in order to present Allington with a plaque and bouquet of flowers.
Allington spoke briefly, joking that she hasn't won much in her life, other than a $10 gift certificate from Pamida when she was young and a book from the school's book fair last week. "It was my lucky week," she said.
After the assembly, students and teachers saluted Allington before filing off to their classrooms.
As Allington entered her own classroom, several students ran up to give her a big hug, while others exclaimed, "Yay! Yay!"
"It's awesome, because our teacher got it," student Hunter Clements said.
The award is given annually to a teacher nominated by his or her peers. A committee chose Allington from dozens of candidates. As Winona Teacher of the Year for 2011, Allington will be considered for the 2012 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award.