COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — Mary Virgin teaches at Cottage Grove Elementary. She takes her students on adventures by instilling in them a love of reading books. It’s what makes her an Excellent Educator.

Virgin has been inspiring the third-graders for nearly 30 years.

“I’ve always taught third grade, they are just so kind and loving and they are always eager to learn,” she said.

Virgin has wanted to be a teacher as long as she can remember.

“I was one of those girls that always wanted to play school all the time, and I just have a great love for children,” she said.

Virgin is a third grade literacy teacher, when she’s not teaching kids about books in the classroom she can be found in her office working one-on-one with students who need a little extra help.

“Reading takes you to so many different places and I just know there are children that don’t like to read and it’s just because they haven’t found the right book yet so I try to find them the right book so they can go on this adventure,” she said.

Virgin is passionate about helping students read one at a time, and it’s that selflessness that makes her stand out at Cottage Grove Elementary.

“I want them to go home knowing they are loved and care for,” she said.