CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — For over 20 years, Mrs. Jackie Gerber has dedicated her life to her students. While many teachers work with hundreds of students each year, as a special needs educator, she works very closely with a small number of kids who thrive off of her delicate care.
"They are what drives me. They are my motivators. They are what gets me up every day to go to work and be the best teacher that I can be," the Gurney Elementary teacher told 3 News.
The success of her students means the world to her.
"Wanting to really work with students to make them independent individuals that can be so successful in life," said Gerber."That's my true dedication... I'm going to start crying, that's what keeps me going."
Gerber has significantly impacted her kids, both past and present.
A former student of Mrs.Gerber, Brandon Mooney, said "She has done so much for me, and she's always kind and caring. She's really helped me out a lot!"
She has also been a saving grace for parents.
When asked how Mrs.Gerber helped her family, Courtney Mooney, mother of a former student, said, "Everyone loves their child, but the ones who have trouble communicating, I just know that she's always going to look out and be there for them. Mooney continues, "as a mom with special needs you're always carrying them very close to your heart, worried about them but I could always reach out to her... the things that she taught us we've taken into our life."
And while a new school year brings on new challenges, it's those challenges that motivate Gerber to give even more to her students.
"She's a rock star in our building, so she's a leader, and she pushes me, which is rare to find. That's how you know you have a good teacher," said Rachel Jones, Principal at Gurney Elementary School.
In honor of students heading back to school this week in Chagrin Falls, WKYC recognizes Mrs. Jackie Gerber for her hard work and tireless dedication to her students, parents and colleagues.
From all of us at 3 News, Thank you, Mrs. Gerber, and best of luck this school year!
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Aug. 17, 2022.