PECATONICA (WREX) — Emily Gottman's love for kids has been evident for most of her life.
It became clear while working at the Rockford Part District.
"I loved working with kids at the summer camps and I thought I need to be doing this," Gottman said.
This connection Emily felt put her on the path to education.
Fastforward to today and she is six years deep into her teaching career.
The Winnebago native currently works with special education students at Pecatonica Elementary.
However, that strong connection Emily, along with so many other teachers, has to kids is being strained as the pandemic and remote learning continues.
"I do a mixture of in-person and remote learning. "I now teach every day remotely at least 2 or 3 hours a day," Gottman said.
"That's definitely not normal but I've made it work."
Emily has pushed through a lot in the last year.
Just making it work even though the circumstances haven't been the best.
On top of adapting to her career, her personal life also hit a big milestone.
She got married to her now husband Zach in September, an event many others decided to postpone or cancel in 2020.
It comes down to a gut feeling a lot of time with Emily.
That's what led to her newest adventure, her next risk.
She has started her own business, Emily Ann Interiors.
Much like kids, this business follows another life-long love of Emily's.
"I've had a love and passion for decorating for many many years probably since high school," Gottman said.
"Obviously with everything going on you've got to do things that make you happy and this makes me extremely happy."
In just a few weeks, Emily has already getting feedback.
A handful of customers have already asked for her expertise, stretching as far as Southern California.
Emily isn't doing this alone either.
She is getting a lot of help from Pecatonica Hardware, specifically from The Workshoppe connected to it.
"We rennovated the space a couple years ago and it just turned out to be beautiful," Pectonica Hardware assistant manager April Munson said.
It became more than a beautifcation effort at the shop though.
The Workshoppe served as a way for the hardware store to better help the growing number of people coming in wanting to make some changes at home.
"We just realized we saw a lot of customers coming in just trying to renovate and to grapple with everything," Munson said.
That's where Emily comes into place.
She has a new office within The Workshoppe where she can help people, both in-person and online, find their vision for home decor.
"We're really excited to have her on," Munson said.
"Just having someone come up alongside and help you figure out how you can make your home function."
So to recap, over the last year Emily has gotten married, bought a house and started her own business all while balancing the changes that came to being a teacher.
It's a lot of change that many likely wouldn't have taken, but thanks to her support system, she felt confident enough to take those changes.
"This is something that really made me happy and if I can consistantly do this and I can do my teaching and everything together, then I'm going to make it happen," Gottman said.
If you want to learn more about Emily Ann Interiors, click here.
This type of drive and determination is infectious and hopefull spreads to everyone in the 815.
If you know anybody making a positive impact in our community, you can fill out a nomination form here or reach out directly to email@example.com.