"It was a stunning surprise and I was very humbled," George said.
The award, which former Stuart Middle School PTA President Nancy Lyons nominated George for, is given exclusively to an individual who is dedicated to the advocacy of children. It is awarded to an individual who goes above and beyond for all children and who acts as a tireless advocate for children's education, health, and well-being. George received the award at the middle school's award ceremony May 25.
"It's the highest honor that the PTA gives somebody," Lyons said.
George began her teaching career in New York two years before transferring to Stuart, and of all the educators in Martin County, she can say she has taught longer than any at the same school. She is the only individual at Stuart Middle School who has ever been given the award.
When Lyons suggested the nomination during a Stuart Middle School PTA meeting, the result was a unanimous "yes" vote. The National PTA agreed that George was worthy of the prestigious award.
"She's definitely deserving. She's been there for these kids for 43 years as a teacher and administrator and that speaks to her character and dedication," Lyons said.
Lyons, whose three children all attended Stuart Middle under George's tutelage, was delighted to be the one presenting George with the award congratulating and acknowledging her for all of her hard work.
George, 70, who has seen generations of students from the same families during her years of educating, has been involved with the PTA since taking a position as an English and social studies teacher at the middle school 43 years ago.
"I consider (the school) my home and the staff my family. You do things in this industry because you enjoy what you're doing. You have to have a passion for this age group. I love what I do every single day," George said.
George has been the principal at Stuart Middle for 12 years. Before that, she was an assistant principal, curriculum coordinator and teacher.
For her achievements and dedication, George received a letter, certificate, and pin from the National PTA and a standing ovation by the auditorium full of people at the awards event.
"It was heartwarming," George said.