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Mrs. Ariel Hyde is the Valley's Top Teacher

Mrs. Hyde helps her kids at Ridgecrest Elementary find their strengths and encourages them to chase their dreams.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A big heart and a love for teaching - that is how people describe Mrs. Ariel Hyde at Ridgecrest Elementary School in Huntsville. Mrs. Hyde is a self-contained collaborative teacher. 

"So I teach students who have multiple or single exceptionalities, such as autism," explains Ariel Hyde, the Valley's Top Teacher. "They all have very special abilities and we just like to highlight that every day in our academic studies."

This year she has a class of six students, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade. She always takes one on one time with each kid to find out what they excel at. 

"It is incredibly important to find confidence in every child and to find their specific strengths to take them from one level to the next," says Mrs. Hyde. 

RELATED: Tell us about your Valley's Top Teacher!

Empowering people in the special needs community has been something Mrs. Hyde has been passionate about for years. 

"It actually came from my brother-in-law," shares Mrs. Hyde. "He is autistic and he is 24 now, and just watching him grow and learn and excel, really pushed me to find my passion."

Mrs. Hyde focuses on the abilities of her kids and shows them that although there will be challenges, growth is something to celebrate. 

"I want them to feel safe, I want them to feel loved, and I want them to feel like in an environment where it is okay to make mistakes, because we all make mistakes," says Mrs. Hyde. 

She says she loves every minute of being a teacher and says there are those days that bring an extra smile to her face. 

"Seeing the light bulb moments, seeing the 'Oh my gosh I can do this.' When they realize that they can do anything, it means a lot to me, it makes it all worth it," she says. 

When her kids go onto middle school she wants them to know they can be successful in whatever they choose to pursue. 

"It can really push them from being oh I can't do, to I can do anything and accomplish anything in this world," says Mrs. Hyde. 

Do you know someone who should be the Valley's Top Teacher? Nominate them by filling out the form below: