KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — This week News Channel 11 traveled to Jackson Elementary School in Kingsport to meet our Educator of the Week.

Jackilyn Heller went to Lincoln Elementary School and spent her entire time teaching back in her hometown. Now, she’s passing on the pride and dedication to excellence to her students.

“I just love the students and interacting with them and the relationships that you get to build,” said Heller.

Heller is in her 7th year as a math and science teacher at Jackson Elementary. She spent her first six years as a 4th-grade teacher but moved to 5th grade in 2023, making for a smooth transition for her 40 students.

“I got to develop a lot of relationships. I feel like I really know these kids and can interact with them. I know about their families. I know about their activities outside of school. It’s nice to be able to have that bond with them,” said Heller.

That connection continues long after the final bell rings. Heller is the coach for the Lego robotics team.

“They learn to code a robot, they present projects based on them. They work together on a teamwork project and then a robot project,” said Heller.

Heller also oversees the Math Olympiad team.

“It helps make that real-world connection from what are we doing in the classroom and how that translates,” said Jackson Elementary Associate Principal, Dr. Ashley Carter.

“I think if we invest in our students they’re going to invest in us one day,” said Heller.

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

To nominate an educator, click here.