Colby Gillespie, 12, was at Morris Area Schools March 8 but he's not a student.

 

He and his younger brother Colton, 8, delivered a bouquet of flowers to their mom Erin, a semi-finalist for for Minnesota Teacher of the Year and a special education and reading teacher at Morris Area Schools.

 

The Morris Area Teachers Association had a celebration breakfast for Gillespie.

 

"She helps everybody," Colby Gillespie said of what makes his mom a good teacher. "She's always happy. She never says no."

 

Colby Gillespie said students of his mom have come up to talk to her when she's not in school. She also leaves for work happy and comes home from work happy, he said.

 

"She builds relationships with her kids, parents and staff," fellow teacher Mary Holmberg said of Gillespie. "She supports the students academically and in their outside school activities. She is there for them."

 

Gillespie is also very "proactive in her teaching. She wants every student to be successful," Holmberg said.

 

"She's motivated by doing what's best for the kids," fellow teacher Darcy Winkelman said.

 

The district has had a few teachers advance through rounds of the Minnesota Teacher of the Year program.

 

Peg Rinkenberger reached the top nine in 2004.

 

"I remember answering all the questions and going to the dinner," Rinkenberger said.