VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE) – A local Visalia teacher is making a difference for his students inside and outside the classroom.

“To see it when it clicks like the lightbulb moment and seeing them make that growth from when they first started to where they’re at behavior wise academic wise just overall classroom behaviors it’s very rewarding,” says Heli Najera, a special education teacher at Veva Blunt Elementary School.

It’s not just young minds being put to the test in Mr. Najera’s third-grade class but an environment that allows these students to feel comfortable in their learning abilities.  

“He’s outgoing, really energized coming to work every day, really positive with the kids always a wonderful happy guy just wanting to keep the kids motivated,” says Andrew Sanchez, a support learning technician at Veva Blunt Elementary School.

Motivated indeed, many students enjoy every second of learning in his class. especially student Jeffery Wiggins. His favorite activity this year is reading.

“We do reading. Reading some books and having fun,” says Wiggins.

After teaching for 13 years he’s crafted unique ways to assist his students who have special needs. Mr. Najera credits having patience and the drive to help his students succeed inside and outside the classroom.  

“But when they’re able to come to a classroom where they feel comfortable, they feel cared for they feel inspired and motivated and they go home and they take that home it’s nice to know that a parent can see that in and that the ultimate goal as educators,” says Mr. Najera.

Mr. Najera has this message for educators here in the Valley and far.

“If you have the passion the care and the love for the kids and families, you’ll be successful,” says Mr. Najera.