MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO This Morning takes you to an elementary school in Bloomington. Kim Johnson received a letter from a parent about a teacher there who has made a difference in her children’s lives.

Susan Duffey teaches first grade at Olson Elementary. She is known for meeting students where they’re at and giving each one the special attention they deserve.

It’s what makes Mrs. Duffey this week’s Excellent Educator.

“I teach first graders, the best first graders,” she said.

For the last 22 years, Duffey’s passion for first grade has never wavered.

“They love to read and they’re sweet and they ask lots of questions,” Duffey said.

Her kids come to her with different needs. Some as advanced readers, some struggle with behavior. It’s her mission to make sure all stay challenged.

“We have lots of books and we find books that are good fits for everyone,” Duffey said. “Everybody works together and helps each other and we find their interests so we find something they’re interested in, it helps everyone …”

And as the school year winds down, the toughest part of her job is sending them on their way to second grade.

“I’m proud of them though and we celebrate, but I’m really sad because I am going to miss them,” she said. “They’re my smart cookies.”

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