WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tonia Armstrong’s childhood dream was to be an airline attendant, but instead of soaring through the skies, she landed at the head of the classroom as a preschool teacher, and she’s loved every minute of it.

“The little ones you just see so much growth from the beginning of the year to the end of the year,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong has seen those big gains from her pint-sized pupils for the past 20 years. She has been the preschool teacher at Gray for the past four years.

“Tonia Armstrong is an integral part of Gray School; she is a wonderful teacher who loves her students; she communicates with her parents; we are blessed to have her here, ” Said Gray Elementary Principal Amy Lawson.

She’s also taught in Johnson City and spent most of her career at Mt. Carmel and Hawkins County but can look back to her school days in Kingsport for the example she would like to set as a teacher.

“I know a teacher that was very important in my life — Virginia Lyte was her name…she had an impact on my life at a very important time; we can make a difference, and I hope I’m making a difference,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong is making a difference. It can be seen every day in the faces of her students.

“I think with the little ones, when the lightbulb goes off and they are start doing well and they take such pride in what they are doing, it means a lot to me to see that,” said Armstrong

And thanks to Mrs. Armstrong, her students will keep that light burning bright into the future

“They are so loving; they just want to do their best; it’s so enjoyable,” said Armstrong.

Congratulations to Tonia Armstrong, this week’s Educator of the Week.

To nominate an Educator of the Week, click here.