HASTINGS, Minn. (WCCO) — This morning, the WCCO Morning Show is honoring another excellent educator in the metro who has gone above and beyond to make a difference in students’ lives.

This week, it seemed everyone at Hastings High School wanted to take part in honoring counselor Kirk Johnson. Edward Moody dropped by to hand over the award, which was actually one of our biggest surprises to date.

When asked why he connects with his students so much, he joked: “Maybe it’s a brainwashing technique.”

No, it’s more likely that his 22 years of dedication to his students are to account for the love they show him. They even have a nickname for him: “M.J.”

“I love it because it’s never the same day twice. Every single day is different and it’s an adventure every day,” he said.

He has been with them through the good times, as well as the bad. Johnson helped many students at Hasting High last year as they dealt with the deaths of several classmates.

That network of mutual support may end up going in both directions. Just about two weeks ago, Johnson was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer. He’s getting treatment, and staying strong, making him even more of an inspiration to the students.

You can nominate a deserving educator by going to the WCCO Morning Show’s Facebook page, telling us their name and why they should be WCCO’s Excellent Educator of the week.