A Rosemount Elementary School teacher got a nice surprise Wednesday and the school got some extra cash for its budget thanks to some grateful parents and an award from Walmart.

Representatives from the retail chain visited Stephanie Ringaman's third grade class Wednesday to present her with the Teacher of the Year award for this sales region. Ringaman was chosen based on a nomination from Kari Mitchell, whose son, Holden, was in Ringaman's class last year.

Mitchell's nomination form singled Ringaman out for the time she spent working with Holden last year to improve his behavior. She even went to one of his soccer games over the summer.

"She's just awesome," Mitchell said. "I think from the beginning of the school year to the end you could see a huge difference in Holden."

Representatives from the local Walmart sifted through the nominations they received from Rosemount, Apple Valley, Lakeville and Farmington. None of the Walmart representatives at RES Wednesday was sure how many nominations they'd received but they said it was a lot.

Walmart representatives who presented the award Wednesday said they look for teachers who go beyond the classroom to help students succeed.

The award came as a surprise to Ringaman. She returned to her classroom after lunch expecting a bunch of empty desks. What she got was a big shout of, "Surprise!" from her current students, several kind words and a $100 gift card.

"As soon as I saw (the Mitchells) I knew something was up," Ringaman said.

Ringaman was a student teacher two years ago at RES. Principal Tom Idstrom called her the best student teacher the school has ever had and said she has done a great job since coming to RES full time.