C.R. Weeks Elementary Third Grade Teacher Kristen Buchanan is no stranger to getting the best out of her students, being in the classroom for close to a decade. For this third-grade teacher, her leadership abilities came at an early age. 

"My family are educators and I have had a lot of support from my elementary teachers," Buchanan said. "I feel like that's where my passion for teaching started."

The SUNY Cortland graduate specializes in teaching English Language Arts for second and third grade. But her specialty comes from the relationship she builds with the students and their families.

For the nine-year teacher, that means coming in each school year with new ideas to spark her students' interests. This year, Buchanan's classroom has adopted a "gameday" theme to help them get ready for their exams. 

"Every time that we do a lesson, it's a practice and what we're practicing for is the task at the end of that unit," Buchanan said. "So we always huddle together on test day and we're like, win this test."

It's these activities that make Buchanan's lessons stay with her students for years. For as much as Buchanan has impacted her students in the past, her students are always returning the favor. 

 "I learned as much from them as they teach me honestly," Buchanan said. "I think that's also cool part of teaching or learning something new every day and it's always something fresh."