Keisha Nandalal loves her second graders at Fountain Green Elementary School and they love her just as much.
It's not unusual to see her students run up and give her a hug, or jump up and down as they talk about their weekend, or even try to stump her with a joke.
"The most important thing I can do is connect with them, build a rapport with them and let them know I see each one of them as an individual," she said.
Building those special connections with her students involves showing her support for them both inside and outside the classroom. She encourages her class to participate in community groups like WeCancerve and Amanda's Walk, which is in memory of the mother of one of her students who passed away from cancer in 2014.
"I try to help the kids understand that we really are a family an extended family," Nandalal said. "We help each other through things and we help each other learn so we can become our best selves."
The special attention she gives each of her students is appreciated by her parents, like Andrea Williams, whose son Connor has had Nandalal as a teacher for two years in a row.
"When he got accepted into her class in the second grade, I felt like we won the lottery," said Williams. "She truly thinks outside the box. She knows each child learns different and she understands that and accepts that."
Nandalal has called Fountain Green Elementary School her second home for 22 years and may not even leave once she retires.
"I'm going to be the library lady," she said. "I'm going to read during story time and make it exciting for kids to explore literature."