See What Makes Her This Week's Excellent EducatorBy Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We know first graders can have a lot of energy. However, in Mrs. Annelise Aaro’s class at Lake Elmo Elementary, they are focused and calm.

How she uses her love of yoga to benefit students is what makes Mrs. Aaro an Excellent Educator.

Her career has been centered on kindergartners, but after 27 years she wanted to give first grade a try.

“Every 27 years you need a little change,” she said.

And it’s been a good fit for both the students and the teacher.

“I love their enthusiasm. I love their willingness to try different things,” Aaro said. “I feel that if everyone can live their life like a 6- or 7-year-old the world will be a great place, they’re so kind.”

Her students may be extra kind, because of how they start their day.

“School’s a pretty exciting place, sometimes you need to breathe,” she said.

Every morning with the chime of a gong, her first graders practice yoga.

“It calms them, helps them regulate their emotions, brain and movement is an important thing to have when you’re learning,” she said.

Aaro has a knack for getting young kids to focus. Soon, that will be the focus of her next big change: retirement.

“I’m not going to leave children, but I am going to leave being a first grade teacher, which is hard,” she said.

After 30 years of teaching, Aaro will retire this spring. In true excellent educator form, she can’t stay away from the kids. She plans to be back in classrooms this time as a trained Yoga Calm instructor.

“Because I want to make a difference and I have a lot of different interests but this is the one that fills my soul and I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do,” said Aaro.

Kim Johnson

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