Every year, the state department of education recognizes one teacher who goes above and beyond in their mission to broaden children's horizons in the classroom.

This year, that educator is Yankton Middle School math teacher Beth Kaltsulas, who has been named South Dakota's 2017 Teacher of the Year.

Kaltsulas has taught in the district for the last 30 years.

She says as a student, she struggled with math and that experience helped her become a better teacher.

“I like the fact that kids can come to my room and they may be struggling with math but they feel comfortable talking to me and we can work it out together. And there’s a great reward that I get when I help kids understand and maybe change their attitude towards math.”

Kaltsulas was recognized not only for her teaching methods, but how she interacts with the students in her classroom.

“It’s always students first with Mrs. K and she puts that as you see in her classroom today she puts students first and that’s what we really enjoy about her,” said Principal Todd Dvoracek.

Kaltsulas says she's just doing her job of trying to make math not so tough.

“When we see kids understand and you see they're working hard and that hard work pays off that's the best part of teaching.”

Kaltsulas earned a $5,000 prize with the award. She will also go on to represent South Dakota as a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award.