Amanda Weir's enthusiasm for her school and students is contagious and has won her the Young Educator of the Year award.
The award was for teachers with six years or less experience who were doing cool things in the classroom and awesome things in their school and community.
Amanda is passionate about working towards making a better life for the kids at her Huia Range School, and is a big believer in the mantra 'if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life'. For her, teaching is about making a difference in the relationships of her students. She believes if the kids are happy and want to come to school, the learning comes after.
Surprisingly, teaching wasn't Amanda's first career choice.
Her decision to leave behind a career in media and communication came after she'd completed her degree and taken a gap year in the United Kingdom in 2008.
Amanda worked at a boys' preparatory school, but didn't know if teaching was for her, so returned to a career in media. At 26 she decided to go back to university and completed her postgraduate diploma in primary teaching at Massey University in Palmerston North.
Amanda's Nga Tawa education has stood her in good stead.
In her 18 months at Huia Range, Amanda has reintroduced a new school house system, worked with businesses on the design and production of house banners, her management unit involves working on revamping the culture and a reward and reinforce system, as well as starting a school council with her colleagues.
"I've always got my teacher hat on, but it's very much a balancing act," she said.
"I'm here at school at 7am and don't leave until 4pm, with my whole focus on the students.
"I go home and try and fit in exercise and things, but I'm always looking on the internet to see if there is something I can use for my students."
It would appear Amanda has found her true calling.