JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Hannah Hess is a first-year teacher at Lake Ridge Elementary School.

Hess explains her teaching career as God’s calling, placing her in a position to be a positive influence on young students.

“I hope that they feel comfortable while they’re in here and loved especially,” said Hess.

Hess is creating connections with her students before they even walk in the door. She greets them on their way into class with a positive exchange meant to get the day started on the right food

“It starts [the student’s] day with just positivity and that’s how anybody wants to start their day. It shows in her classroom,” said Jessica Adams, Lake Ridge Assistant Principal.

Once inside the classroom, Hess’ students are surrounded by bright colors and more messages made to empower her students

“My classroom theme is rainbow. I really wanted that to set the tone of colorful and fun and vibrant,” said Hess.

Hess has 21 students in her 3rd grade ELA, Science and Social Studies classes taking on an important role as academic challenges increase.

“3rd grade is the first grade that [students] take TCAPs and that’s a big adjustment for them when they come from 2nd grade, there is a lot more independence that they are introduced to in 3rd grade,” said Hess. “3rd grade is the first time, at least at this school, that they change classes and have two teachers, it’s a lot of adjustment for them.”

A complex class made simple with compassion and connection has Hess light years ahead of her time.

Congratulations to this week’s Educator of the Week, Hannah Hess.

To nominate an educator, click here.