ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) — Jessica Kemnitz teaches visual arts at Spectrum High School in Elk River.

She inspires students to be creative during school and after as head of the yearbook.

Her ability to challenge kids to try something new is what makes Kemnitz an Excellent Educator.

Her lessons at Spectrum High School are hands on.

“Our students are doing something called 100 Project, they get 100 of the same object and they have to create a sculpture out of it,” she said.

The college prep school focuses on technology, but Kemnitz is all about art.

“I always knew I was a visual person,” she said, “that was always something that was instinctive in me.”

Being visual runs in her family.

“My mom is an artist and so she inspired the art side of it,” Kemnitz said.

Kemnitz got her start teaching in South Korea, before coming back to the Twin Cities and eventually Elk River, where she has become the school yearbook instructor, coaching 17 students on the importance of deadlines to get the book completed.

“They plan the whole entire year, they’ve been out taking pictures, they have been working really hard at taking pictures outside school, they gain interview skills, photography skills, they learn journalism and graphic design skills,” she said.

Kemnitz pushes students to try new things and to do their best, making her the perfect person for the profession.

“I always wanted to become a teacher, that was always my passion,” she said.