SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — This week’s Educator of the Week goes to first-grade teacher Brandy Puckett at Indian Springs Elementary.

Puckett told News Channel 11 her interest started with the connection she had with her teachers and how they made her feel with the confidence they instilled in students.

Now, that’s the passion she’s had for the past 10 years.

“I had some absolutely phenomenal teachers when I was in school. Who truly made each of their students feel like they were their favorite. We all felt valued and important and capable of learning,” said Puckett. “It really put a passion in me for wanting to know how the world worked and why the world works the way it does. I love sharing that with my students and sharing with them that each one of them has worth and every one of them is very loved.”

Puckett currently has 16 students and teaches all subjects.

“We have a lot of rigorous standards, they go from working with building blocks in Kindergarten to hitting the ground running in first grade. This is where we see a tremendous amount of growth,” said Puckett.

At the top of Puckett’s to-do list are reading and literacy. It’s also one of the areas where she has the most success preparing her students for the rest of their schooling.

“We want them to build those key things, especially in reading, she really focuses on that. Her math instruction is great but it’s really the reading, she does a great job with that,” said Mark Pendleton, Indian Springs Principal.

No matter the subject, Puckett said watching her students succeed makes all the hard work worth it.

“[The students] just light up with it. You can see their confidence in it. They’re exiting with ‘I know how to do this now,” said Puckett. “It’s infectious.”

That success continues to propel Puckett’s students to even bigger and better things.

“We have a lot of growth mindset working towards their big goals,” said Puckett.

Congratulations to this week’s Educator of the Week, Brandy Puckett.

To nominate an educator, click here.