BELTON — Kelly Francis and Holly Lamberte were announced as Teachers of the Year at Belton Independent School District’s annual lunch Wednesday.

The Teacher of the Year Luncheon was held at the Harris Community Center, honoring one teacher from each of Belton ISD’s campuses, plus those in special departments such as career and technical education and fine arts.

Francis was named the elementary teacher of the year, and Lamberte the secondary teacher of the year. Both will go on to compete at the regional level in an ongoing process that culminates in two statewide winners.

Superintendent Susan Kincannon announced Francis and Lamberte as the district-wide winners, noting that they were chosen from a field of more than 700 teachers in Belton ISD.

School board President Sue Jordan praised all the honorees.

“I have love in my heart for each one of you,” Jordan said. “You all are the cream of the crop. What you signify for this particular district is nothing short of amazing.”

Francis teaches at Lakewood Elementary School, and she was introduced by her principal, Judy Schiller.

“She’s one of those teachers that make other teachers better,” Schiller said. “She just has a gift of making others want to do the right thing.”

Francis has a wide variety of teaching experience, including work as a kindergarten teacher and a fifth grade teacher. She is also the mother of five of her own children.

“She’s truly humble, and is one of those people that does the right thing for all the right reasons,” Schiller said.

Lamberte coaches track and cross country at Belton High School. Athletic Director Mike Morgan introduced her to the luncheon.

“Holly impacts hundreds of kids positively on a daily basis,” Morgan said.

Morgan said that coaching cross country is challenging, because students have to work extra hard without always seeing a whole lot of reward.

“Our cross country kids come back in the second week in July to start workouts,” he said. “They have to be put in an atmosphere where they see the value of hard work, where they understand reaching goals, and Holly does a great job of making all the kids feel important and all the kids feel included.”

The other individual campus and department teachers of the year were Courtney Bradley for Belton Early Childhood School, Kandee Moon for Chisholm Trail Elementary, Tina Friedrich for High Point Elementary, Danielle Bridges for Leon Heights Elementary, Paige Carrasquillo for Miller Heights Elementary, Alyssa Lewis for Pirtle Elementary, Veronica Shockency for Southwest Elementary, Katie Schindler for Sparta Elementary, Stephani Wilson for Tarver Elementary, Edgar Miranda for Lake Belton Middle School, Dorothy Adams for North Belton Middle School, Blair Hodges for South Belton Middle School, Tiffney Barnes for Belton High School, Shanon Gish for Belton New Tech High School @ Waskow, Rebecca Alcozer for the career and technical education department, Melissa Stuhff for the fine arts department, and Doug O’Loughlin for the special education department.