KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Erik Heller is a 5th-grade teacher at George Washington Elementary School who strives not only to teach his students but also to act as a positive role model.

“I think it’s a great job,” he said. “I think it’s a position that helps impact positive change in our community. I’d like to say I’m a positive role model; I hope to try to impact positive change. [This is] the big thing for me.”

The Tennessee High grad attended Middle Tennessee State University and graduated with a degree in exercise science, but an economic slowdown a year ago led him to another calling: teaching.

“He has a big personality, and the kids love that,” said principal Heather Wolf. “They are eager to engage. He is a questioner; he loves to get kids thinking and really help them prepare for the day with questions like how they feel and how life is for them.”

In addition to teaching, Heller also oversees the 5th-grade retreat at the end of the year — a rite of passage so to speak as they head to middle school.

Congratulations to this week’s Educator of the Week, Erik Heller.

To nominate an educator, click here.