Teacher award

Courtesy of Peters Township School District

National State Teacher of the Year members Matt Binder, Lora O’Brien and Cindy Ollendyke visited Bower Hill Elementary School to present Brent Killen with the Hilda M. Sundermann award. From left are Binder, Killen, O’Brien and Ollendyke.

A third-grade teacher at Bower Hill Elementary School in Peters Township was recently recognized with the Hilda M. Sundermann award.

Earlier this month, Brent Killen received the honor from the Pennsylvania chapter of the National State Teachers of the Year. The award is named for a former Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher. Sundermann passed away in 2015.

“Unbeknownst to me, it was given to me at a faculty meeting,” Killen said. “I was very much caught off guard.”

Killen said he was nominated for the award from a former colleague. The award comes with $500 for Killen to put toward a classroom project.

With the money, he hopes to be able to spark his students’ creativity.

“I would like to do something with creating a writing center in my room,” Killen said, adding that he hopes that would include a binding machine so kids can see their stories become books.

“I have a lot of kids this year who have shown some interest in doing their own writing.”

This is Killen’s 27th year working in the Peters Township School District, and he credited Bower Hill Elementary as having a strong culture of veteran teachers helping their younger colleagues to get their bearings.

“I have had a lot of teachers, many of them have since retired, that kind of taught me a lot about the art of teaching. What we as a building have done very well is pass along what we have learned from previous teachers,” Killen said.

Killen noted that now, he has become one of the veteran teachers, and he hopes to do the same for the next generation of educators.

“You start to see that it’s important to pass those things on that you’ve been taught along the way,” Killen said. “I work with some fantastic people. I feel very fortunate to have spent my career here.”

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