Thanks To Teachers: Glen Arden teacher says building relationships is key to learning

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It takes more than books and school supplies to help kids succeed.

"The most important thing is relationships," says Glen Arden Elementary teacher Hayley Dixon. "That has to happen before any learning can happen."

Dixon gives students the structure they need to thrive.

"I always want them to come in and know that, regardless of what happens during the day or at home, that I'm here for them and I care about them," she told News 13.

Former student Emma Knapp says it's about time Dixon got some recognition, so she nominated Dixon for our News 13 Thanks To Teachers segment.

"I was watching WLOS one night and they said vote for Thanks to Teachers on," said Emma, now a fourth-grader who seems to be going on 40. "And I was like, oh I know someone that can nominate. And I nominated her because I found her really kind and very touching."

"Seeing them turn into independent little human beings that love to learn and just want to know more," Dixon said of her role. "And just kind of figure out their passions and what's important to them and having a part in helping them do that."

Emma says some kids have a fixed notion of what they're capable of learning, but Dixon has other ideas.

"And every day people walked out of her classroom with a growth mindset," Emma said.

That mindset how Dixon's built a culture of excellence.