Heather Garner taught for the past 14 years in Grand Rapids but after relocating to Zeeland, she says Hamilton was at the top of her list of districts she wanted to teach in.

"I was really interested in Hamilton Middle School. I had always heard great things about the kids and the staff, so when the opportunity presented itself I was really excited," Garner explained.

As soon as her interview started with Hamilton Middle School principal, Liz Morehouse, she knew that Hamilton is where she wanted to be. Since then, she has connected with her students and colleagues and has thoroughly enjoyed her first year.

"I think something that really stands out here is just the tight-knit community, the parental involvement, I love that everybody knows everybody. It's just a great place where everybody cares about each other and the kids' success."

As one HMS parent commented on Facebook, "We love Mrs. Garner! She's a top notch teacher and is so engaged with her students and parents! We couldn't have asked for a better teacher for our daughter's first year in middle school."

As for goals in her classroom, Garner says she wants every student to feel valued and cared for.

"I want my students to come to school every day and to feel safe and excited here. I think that we really care for the kids here," she added.