Lilly Heinzig says she's a teacher because she couldn't be happy doing anything else.

Whatever the first-grade teacher is doing in the classroom, she must be doing it right, because she has been named the Alpine School District's teacher of the year.Heinzig was honored recently at the State of Utah Teacher of the Year ceremony sponsored by the Utah Association of Teacher Educators, and during a recent Alpine School Board meeting.

Alpine Superintendent Steven Baugh added his praise.

"Mrs. Heinzig represents the finest in classroom dedication and professionalism," he said. "Her dedication to students is exemplary of the many excellent teachers who are employed here in the district."

Heinzig says she loves teaching because of the children.

"The number one reason for my job satisfaction comes from the opportunity of helping children learn. When children know that they know, their countenance radiates the real paycheck I value as an educator," she said.

"There is nothing comparable to the inner satisfaction of making a positive difference in a child's life. I will be the first to admit that teaching is hard work. Sometimes it is discouraging. Having tasted of the rewards from commitment to teaching, I could not find equal satisfaction in any other profession."

The new teacher of the year started her career in the Granite School District in Salt Lake City, where she taught for three years. She has taught at Alpine's Forbes Elementary School for eight years. Heinzig attended Emery County High School and Dixie Jr. College, where she served as student body secretary. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.

She has participated in many teacher training activities and recently became involved in the review and development of elementary curriculum material for the district.