FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN) — In Blair Wilkes’ Willow Spring High School class, students are learning all about setting goals with Wake County Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“It’s really about teaching students how to goal set, how to have skillsets that are transferable,” said Taylor. 

Wilkes is a special education teacher at the high school and was recently awarded the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Educator of Excellence award.

“I think I work with a lot of amazing educators, and I’ve had a lot of great influences in my life so to be recognized as the Educator of Excellence for Wake County is definitely an honor,” said Wilkes.

She told CBS 17 she set her own goal of becoming a teacher in college and now her mission is to inspire students to go after their goals.

“I think teaching special education, a lot of times students can get mislabeled or not heard,” Wilkes said. “So I think just wanting to be an advocate for them for their general ed teachers and just to the general public is something that I have become very passionate about.”

April Anderson is one of Wilke’s students. She told CBS 17 she looks forward to going to Wilke’s class every day.

“As a teacher your job’s only to teach a child. You don’t have to make them feel loved and cared for, and that’s what she does,” said Anderson. “I just love how calm and collected she is toward everyone.”