Like most educators, Daina Faling has had quite the school year with her first grade class at Wellington's Rice Elementary.

Classes have been a mix of in-person and remote, changing on a whim throughout the school year. Faling has been there to adjust along the way and was voted the January 2021 winner of Townsquare Media's Teacher Tuesday contest for her efforts.

Faling, a Michigan native, wins $500 for her school, a $100 gift card to food delivery service Nosh NoCo and a free oil change from Ozzie's Bodyshop.

Falin was nominated for the contest by parent Whitney Meisner.

"As a parent this year has brought a unique opportunity to be a 'fly on the wall,'" Meisner wrote. "And I could not be more grateful that my son has Ms. Faling as his teacher. She is organized, routine, patient and energetic. Daina's love for her students and job is clear."

Faling has long wanted to be a teacher. Here what she said is her favorite part of being an educator:

My Smarties and making learning fun for them. Whether it's learning about geography while tracking the Gingerbread Man around the world, or learning about digraphs while performing our phonics dance, we are always having fun. Watching them get excited about what we are studying, even through a computer screen, and watching their eagerness to participate is rewarding and warms my heart.

Faling joined us for a quick interview over Microsoft Teams:

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2020-2021 Teacher Tuesday Monthly Winners

2019-20 Northern Colorado Teacher of the Month Winners