Silver Apple Class of 2011-12: Jana Groh

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PHOENIX - Do you remember being in first grade? How exciting and scary it was. If you were lucky your teacher was like Jana Groh at Horseshoe Trails Elementary in Cave Creek. We surprised her with a 3TV Silver Apple Award.

A big thank you to a great teacher from 3TV and Silver Apple sponsor Dr. Alex Bigham with Novocur Pain Management Clinics. Who nominated Mrs. Groh? Two sixth graders who were in her class together more than five years ago and independently took the time to remember the teacher who give them such a good start in life.

Study after study shows teachers matter more than any other single factor in education. One common denominator - they really love what they do.

"I love to see that light bulb pop on. It makes the world of difference for all the sudden something to click and you say 'they got it'," said Ms. Groh. "That's going to go with them all the way through life."

"Her teaching will have a lifelong impact," said Zoe Ruiz, a former student who nominated Ms. Groh. "Ms. Groh was a loving, funny, amazing teacher."

Talk about fun. Just imagine the delight of these six and seven-year-olds when their teacher would leave the room and return as a wise-cracking cowgirl named Betsy.

"One of the things that made her a hero was when she would leave the room and return as a different person using crazy accents," said Emily Watkins, who also independently nominated Ms. Groh. "This always made the class interested in what she was teaching."

"Failure is not an option. It is not an option," said Ms. Groh. "Whether we have to sing, dance, stand on our head to get them to be successful in the classroom that's what it takes."