HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) — Liberty County High School Special Education teacher Nakisia Sims has been selected as a winner of Staple’s nationwide 4th annual Thank A Teacher Contest.

Sims was selected for her extraordinary work going above and beyond for her students as she spearheaded a Gala for the Special Needs students of three different area high schools.

Since most of the students would not attend their respective proms, she coordinated with classroom staff, several other teachers, and over 10 community restaurants and businesses to ensure that the Gala was a success.

In the end, over 70 students and their families were treated to a night of formal dinner and dancing that gave them a chance to celebrate like all other students in their schools.

One of only twenty teachers selected across the country out of thousands of nominations, Sims and the other winners each received $5,000 in Staples gift cards.

“What this grant means to me is an increase in opportunity to do for our students,” Sims said. “There are so many times as a Special Education classroom that we have felt like we are on an island all by ourselves. There have been so many moments when we wished we had the resources readily available in order to bring the plans for our lessons to life.”

She continued, “In the past few years I and the staff have had to come out of pocket in order to ensure that what we envisioned going into every project and class was a reality. We have refused to give our students anything less than an exciting educational and life experience. So, we have not minded the sacrifices. Our kids are worth it.”

“We’re thrilled to be recognizing some outstanding teachers through the Thank A Teacher Contest, helping them to outfit their classrooms with everything they need for the year,” said Marshall Warkentin, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer, Staples US Retail.

He continued, “Teachers consistently go above and beyond for their students, leaving a lasting impact on their lives. The record-breaking entry response this year is a testament to just how much communities are looking to give back to their teachers.”

“With this grant the staff and I will continue to buy the materials needed to enhance our children’s times in the classroom,” Sims said. “This grant will enable us to even expand upon the amount of resources that we can obtain, and it will grant to us a greater ability to plan the timely of purchasing the resources to coincide with our lessons.”

The Thank A Teacher contest aims to give parents, students, supporters, and fellow teachers a platform to recognize an outstanding teacher who has made a positive impact inside and outside of the classroom.

In July parents, students, and supporters nominated their teachers by sharing their personal stories of thanks and appreciation. After nominations, a team of judges carefully reviewed each submission and the group of 20 educators who have shown remarkable dedication and commitment to their students.