COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) – This morning, the WCCO Morning Show is honoring another excellent educator who has gone above and beyond to make a different in students’ lives.

Like adults, high school students must learn to balance their personal and academic lives.

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Having a teacher willing to help with both can often be just what a student needs to excel.

This week’s excellent educator, Park High School’s Abbey Janicek, seems to have mastered that skill.

Three years ago, Janicek began living out her dream.

A math teacher at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn., Janicek’s passion for numbers is trumped only by devotion to her students.

“That’s why I teach. I teach because of the kids, not because of the math. I love math obviously, but I love my kids way more,” Janicek said.

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In a few short years, Janicek has managed to connect in a way that takes many teachers much longer.

“There’s no way that I can teach them math if I don’t get through to them and through all of the issues that they bring to school,” Janicek said.

Tenth grader Paige Abel says she’s proof that Janicek’s approach to removing those barriers to learning works.

“She’s willing to care, and to help and to do whatever it takes to make sure I’m OK,” Abel said.

“They’re everything to me. They are my kids. They are so important to me,” Janicek said.

Paige says not only does Janicek push them to excel in her class, but she helps them with other classes as well.

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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.