Shelly Novotny makes learning fun and it's obvious she thinks teaching is fun.
"I kind of thrive on the changes of teaching. I like to take on new and improved ways of technology," says Novotny.
The Charlevoix Elementary third grade teacher has 20 years of experience in the classroom. She's taught every grade except 4th. It's more than just a job: it's a passion.
"The first thing I do every school year is I try to develop a family within our classroom. We're called the "Happy Campers" and so we try to develop a classroom community where there's love and kindness," says Novotny.
"Happy Campers" might be the perfect way to describe Novotny's classroom setting. It's almost like a family instead of a day to day routine.
"This job really means the world to me, it really does," says Novotny.
"That's one of her priorities is to have fun with her students but impact their lives. It's amazing to have a person in our building who loves children like Shelly does," says Charlevoix Elementary principal, Doug Drenth.
Besides her compassion and dedication to her students, Novotny is also a nominee for the Michigan Department of Education's teacher of the year. Part of the requirements to apply include: a teacher who is exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, skilled and inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
"I think a lot of it is in creativity and also her limitless time...her caring about what they need to learn and wanting her kids to excel," says Drenth.
"I like the stimulation. When I was writing the Michigan teacher of the year paperwork I had to sit and write for a couple of days and it honestly killed me because to me coming in everyday, that's the excitement of my job," says Novotny.
"I hope they come out of here reading a lot better. I just believe in literacy so much. I hope they come out of here feeling really good about themselves and I hope they love school by the time they leave," says Novotny.