MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A teacher in Golden Valley has been awarded WCCO’s Excellent Educator award.

Stacy Tepp teaches math at Breck’s upper school. But what motivated more than 20 students to nominate her has more to do with her work as senior dean, helping students in all areas of life whether academic, social or emotional.

“She’s always been super helpful, she’s always there for me and whenever I have anything I want to talk about, she’s always there and willing to talk to me,” said Grace Medeiros, a student. “She always goes above and beyond to do what she can to help out.”

At Breck, students get paired with counselors like Tepp and have them all four years of high school.

“It’s great because you get to build those relationships, you get to follow them through and that allows you to kind of do that push and pull and help them to be their best,” Tepp said.

It provides a safe zone for students when they’re navigating stressful times in and outside of school.

“I’m always able to go run in her office and get a mint or candy,” said student Esme Klopp. “It’s just kind of like to take a breath when I talk to her.”

“I love working with the messy stuff,” Tepp said. “I love talking with students about the good and the bad and have deep conversations about their lives.”

For Tepp, her students are more like family.

“I think of this group as my second family,” she said. “I was driving in the snow today and I told my kids, I told my seniors last night, to drive safely because they’re the second group I think of after you guys.”