By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You know good things are happening in a school when the kids beg to go in early. That’s the case at on school in Brooklyn Park and it’s all thanks to one teacher.

Bill Campbell is a Physical Education teacher at Maranatha Christian Academy. What he does in his gym, helps students concentrate in the classroom. It’s what makes Mr. Campbell an Excellent Educator.

Every day before school, you can find kids bouncing off the walls in Mr. Campbell’s gym.

“It started out with my son coming in with me early in the morning and I would have him start shooting while I’d get the gym set up and then I would notice some faces pressed up against the glass in the cafeteria just wanting to come in so I thought what a good why for kids to come in and burn energy,” he said.

He named the program EARLY which stands for Early, Arrival, Recreation, Learning, for Youth. In just over a year, the program has grown from a handful to 70 kids participating.

“It just lets them get all the energy out before they start their school day and the teachers have commented that it makes it easier for them to concentrate in class,” he said.

Campbell is new to education, only becoming a teacher three years ago.

“This is a second career for me,” he said.

The second career followed a big life change.

“I just went through a divorce and seeing my kids 50 percent of the time I decided to self-medicate with alcohol,” he said. “I didn’t realize at the time it was slowly destroying my liver.”

After a hospital stay, Campbell got help and last week celebrated his fourth year sober. He credits the kids for giving him motivation and a new outlook on life.

“Through the grace of God this is what has happened, progression after progression, finding a job where I can make a difference in the lives of children,” He said.

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