MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After a few weeks off for spring break, we’re excited to get back to recognizing the best teachers Minnesota has to offer.

This week we couldn’t tell who was more surprised, the teacher or her students. We love how energized Ms. Charise Powell’s third graders are at Hiawatha Leadership Academy-Northrop in Minneapolis.

When she’s not helping these kids learn, she’s working on her advanced degree, or fulfilling her role as a new mom at home.

All her hard work is what makes Powell an Excellent Educator.

Powell didn’t always have teaching as the end goal.

“I actually started as a journalism major, thought I wanted to cover music and work for Rolling Stone, but I actually started doing after-school at a Minneapolis public school and loved it and switched and went back to school and I’ve been on the education path ever since,” she said.

Powell says her third graders are “AH-mazing!”

“I just love working with them, they’re my students but we’re a big family here. They’re like my kids,” she said.

But while Powell works to better her kids, she also continues to better herself. First with obtaining her Master’s degree and currently working to get an Educational Leadership License to someday be a principal.

“It not only betters myself and my own path in learning but I feel the better educator I can be, the better I can be for my students and that’s my goal,” she said. “It’s about what I can do for them and how I can help them.”

All tools to help her succeed in the classroom, but she has also found assists in her own home as a new mom of her son Anthony.

“It’s given me a new spin on how I understand teaching and how I understand kids,” she said. “I always view how would I want my kids to be treated in a classroom one now that I actually have a child it is something that is constantly on my mind.”