By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every week on WCCO This Morning, we give credit where credit is due to a teacher doing excellent work in the classroom. This week’s honors go to Kim LeBlanc, a fourth grade teacher at Skyview Elementary School in Oakdale.

“It’s a great feeling … I’m still in awe, it’s crazy,” LeBlanc said. “When I was in fourth grade, the kids from my neighborhood would come to my room and we had a chalkboard. I made up work sheets. So yes, this is a dream.”

LeBlanc has been living her dream as a teacher for 17 years. She says the rewards are still just as sweet as when she started.

“My biggest things about these kids is that once you see that lightbulb come on and you know that you’ve gotten through to them, that’s the best part,” LeBlanc said.

Some of the lessons come not only from the books but also through her daughter, Lydia.

“My daughter Lydia is 14 years old, in eighth grade, has cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair, non-verbal, tube-fed, lots of issues. But they don’t seem big to me, I don’t think, because we’ve been dealing with it,” she said.

LeBlanc on occasion brings Lydia to school so her students can meet her “to give these kids just a little different look about what life is like for other people,” LeBlanc said.

It’s a lesson in life that stays with you.

“Life has struggles,” student Jayda Amachree said.

“Just because people look different doesn’t mean they won’t have the same feelings,” student Hailey Xiong said.

Among the many lightbulb moments that take place in this class, that may be the one LeBlanc enjoys the most.

“I always talk about how I have a poster over here that you don’t know what other people are going through, so just be kind,” LeBlanc said.

To nominate a teacher for WCCO’s Excellent Educator, click here.


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