By Kim Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This week WCCO This Morning heads to Como Park Elementary in St. Paul to surprise an Excellent Educator.

Mr. Mike Shepperd is a special education teacher who challenges his students to grow and learn.

“I work with students with special needs who all have a cognitive disability and trying to make sure they are enjoying school that they’re having fun learning,” he said.

One example of how they have fun while learning is at the coffee shop Mr. Shepperd created.

“We’re going to learn how to count money, we’re going to learn how to keep things clean, we have to have good social skills, we have to greet people, we have to be good hostesses,” he said.

It’s a job that’s rewarding for him.

“Every day I laugh, every day I see some growth and their brains are getting bigger,” Shepperd said.

And having a son of his own with special needs, it makes him feel good to know he’s not only helping these kids but also their parents.

“Knowing what parents go through when they send their child off, trusting everybody else and trusting the adults who are with them,” he said. “Just knowing that there are people there caring for them and people who have their trust.”

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