ROCKFORD (WREX) — Leslie Granneman is no stranger to the stateline.
She went to Hononegah High School, earned her Bachelor's degree in fine arts for education and theatre from Northern Illinois University and began her teaching career at Guilford High School.
After six years at Guilford, Granneman decided to make a change.
She packed up and moved to Arizona where she spent 13 years to be closer to family.
When some of her family made their way back to Rockford, she decided to do the same.
"My son got older and he moved back home so I came back home," Granneman said.
Granneman's return to Rockford has her in the halls of Auburn High School as an AP and gifted English teacher.
She spends her day helping her kids learn the basics of reading analysis to create a foundation for higher learning.
"It's simply critical thinking, critical writing, critical reading. Once they learn how to use the text to support their analysis or opinion of the text, then they are ready for deeper more college level analysis," Granneman said.
Mrs. Granneman is impressed with the growth in her kids in just one semester as their teacher.
As for the students, the impact she has on them is something they don't get often at school.
"Mrs. Granneman overall is someone who really cares about her students," Auburn junior Simone Werner says.
"I feel like she has actually helped me through a lot. You don't really hear a lot of teachers ask you about your day and how you are doing."
Werner isn't alone in feeling this way.
The rest of her class has developed strong affection for Mrs. Granneman.
So much so, one student rallied her classmates together to nominate her for Teacher of the Week.
The brains behind the operation was Angelique Tejeda who came up with the idea after watching our segment over Thanksgiving break.
"I literally paused the TV and just took a picture of it and I sent the chat to one of my friends and told them 'we really need to get this up and running for her,'" Tejeda said.
Tejeda got her entire class involved to send emails in to 13 News nominating Mrs. Granneman for the award.
The Auburn junior considers her class like a family and wanted to recognize the hard work of who some of her classmates call "a second mom"
"I honestly feel like I love her. She's a really good teacher," Tejeda said.
"I just feel like teachers don't get enough recognition for the hard work that they put in. I"m just proud of everybody collectively putting in effort to make her shown and known."
As for Granneman, the nomination means a lot to her, but not as much as the effort her kids put in to show their support.
"They are with me every day. They know my teaching better than anybody else so that they nominated me, more than once even, is absolutely incredible," Granneman said.
"The whole reason I'm a teacher is because I want to see them grow and become the adults they're going to be and the people they're going to be. It's really an amazing journey and I get to go with them."