Renee McAnulty didn't know who was being honored when she brought her first grade students into Cottonwood Elementary's multipurpose room last week.

Victor Valley College's Lori Kildal and other dignitaries were there on May 1 to announce the ninth and final Teachers R Heroes award winner for the school year. The college, in cooperation with El Dorado Broadcasters and San Bernardino County Schools, honor a Victor Valley teacher each month for their dedication.

"We didn't receive one nomination," Kildal said. "We received six nominations."

She read excerpts from the various letters extolling the as-yet-unnamed teacher for improving students' lives, helping to keep commuter parents in the loop about what their children are doing and her passion for teaching.

"Please honor me in honoring Cottonwood's hero: Renee McAnulty," Kildal said.

As McAnulty sat there, stunned, on the floor with her students, she was enveloped in a group hug by her students.

"I have the best job in the world," McAnulty told those assembled, blinking away tears. "I get to come and work with these babies."

One boy in the back of the room, perhaps worried about what the ceremony meant for the future, called out, "Don't leave us, Ms. Mac!"

"No, no," McAnulty said, shaking her head.

For more information about Teachers R Heroes, visit

Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at Follow us on Facebook at