Every day is a new day in this first grade class

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Meridianville, Ala. (WHNT) - For nearly 30 years, Lynn Fanning elementary has been home to one committed first grade teacher.  She's already well-known in the Madison County School system; now it's time to tell the rest of the Tennessee Valley about Carol Patton. She's this week's Tools for Teachers award winner. With camera in hand, we surprised Ms. Patton with $319 to spend in her classroom as she sees fit.

Ms. Patton was nominated by parents Robin and Stewart Mitchell. They wanted to thank their daughter's teacher for making the first grader's transition to a new school more comfortable. The Mitchell's told us that it's the environment Ms. Patton fosters in her classroom that makes school an inviting place for their little girl.

A safe environment according to this veteran teacher, that's the key to reaching first graders.

"I think it’s important to have a warm environment in which they know they’re loved, so that when they leave school, no matter what’s happening at home, they can feel like that each day is a new day," Patton said, "and they can just know that I’m going to understand them and take care of them."

If you know a worthy teacher, coach, principal, or aide, tell us about them through the Tools for Teachers nomination form.