JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The new school year is back in session and our Teacher of the Week segment is also back. A 4th grade teacher at Mandarin Oaks Elementary is at the top of the class not only in his school district, but in the state.
It's a new school year with a new class of 4th grade students for Zachary Champagne. This is his 12th year teaching elementary. It's something he loves and believes this is where he's meant to be in this classroom teaching these 4th graders.
"It's absolutely my passion. I've often said, 'This is my calling. I don't have a choice in this. I get up every morning and this is what I'm going to do regardless of it,'" said Champagne.
His passion for teaching shows. Just two weeks into the new school year, his students already realize they have a very special teacher.
"I really like him. He's probably the best teacher at school," said 4th grader Parker Blessing.
"He helps us when we are stuck with a math problem," added 4th grader Jada McGhee.
Mr. Champagne is recognized as an outstanding teacher outside his classroom. He was first named Teacher of Year at Mandarin Oaks Elementary, then in Duval County, and finally, he went on to be named one of the five finalists for Teacher of the Year in the entire state, which he was an amazing honor and a wonderful experience.
But he doesn't do this for the recognition. He does it for the children. "The moment they get it. The moment you see something click and you know you've made a difference. You know you've made a change. You see that moment and that's why I come."
Champagne said his heart is in the classroom, but he also loves working with and helping other teachers, and that is why he is the President of the Duval Elementary Mathematics Council.
First Coast News