GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (FOX 9) - FOX 9 honored another one of the fantastic teachers in the Twin Cities this week.
Mary McLaughlin, a kindergarten teacher with the School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley, is this week's winner of the Top Teacher Award.
Mary won the award after receiving a nomination from one of her student's parents, Willette Whitted.
"Mrs. McLaughlin is adored by all of the students, parents, and staff because she has the ability to learn each students' unique needs," wrote Whitted. "Many of the upper grade students in the school come daily to visit her and give her a hug. Her colleagues respect her and ask for counsel."
Speaking with FOX 9, McLaughlin said she was humbled to win. She also provided some insight into how she looks at teaching.
"I try to see life through the eyes of a 5 or 6 year old and the eyes of a parent of a kindergartener," she wrote. "I use my passion for animals and nature to help my students learn how and why it is important to be respectful, kind, thankful and show empathy toward others, animals and nature. Our class pet, Lucy the bearded dragon and my rescue dog Lily have played a huge part in helping my students learn why these caring characteristics are so important. Through our animal and nature lessons my students have learned and understand that some things are the same while others are different. This process has helped my students make connections with each other while respecting and learning about each other's differences."
Sadly, this year will be Mary's final year as a teacher, as she heads into retirement. With the obstacles thrown her way, Mary says it's been a difficult end to her well-regarded career.
"I am retiring at the end of this school year, which is bittersweet and very emotional," she wrote. "I never thought I would retire without my students and not being able to say goodbye to everyone I have worked with for eight years. I am one of the original staff members that opened up the School of Engineering and Arts eight years ago."
Mary says credits the school and her fellow staff members for the success she's had as a teacher.
"Our administration is supportive, encouraging and always challenging us to be innovative," she said. "The entire staff (school family) has played a part in helping me become the teacher I am. I am blessed to work at the School of Engineering and Arts and partner with my students' families."
With the reward, Mary will get a $1,000 check from Royal Credit Union for her classroom supplies and a FOX 9 Top Teacher Award for her desk.