She's not one to take a compliment, but her students say there’s something special about Carol Rumpel, a 5th grade teacher at Arcadia School District.
"She's really been the brighten up your day kind [of person],” said Carson Pehler, one of her students. “If you're having a bad day and you see her, you know you're going to have a great day."
What sets her apart the most might be her bearded dragon, which interacts with Carson and her other students during reading time. The little lizard sits on her shoulder and in the laps of the kids while they read aloud.
But what most likely sets Mrs. Rumpel apart is her dedication to go the extra mile for every single student, even if it means learning a new language.
Brianna, one of Mrs. Rumpel’s students, is deaf and communicates via sign language. Mrs. Rumpel took the initiative to teach her class the language.
"It kinda got started at the beginning of the year trying to help so Brianna can communicate with us,” Carson explained. “I think it’s really changed how our class has been."
Thanks to Mrs. Rumpel's dedication, Brianna is no longer the only one who can communicate with just her hands. But Mrs. Rumpel doesn't just change her kids' lives in her classroom.
"Donovan is a student that was diagnosed with cancer last year, and he's been out of school for all of last year,” Mrs. Rumpel said of one of her students. "I wanted to really connect with him somehow."
She found a way. Mrs. Rumpel skypes daily with Donovan via an iPad. Other students say it helps Donovan stay in touch with his friends while he battles the disease at home.
Whether's it's Skyping with Donovan daily, or signing with Brianna and her classroom, Mrs. Rumpel's making a difference in these kids' lives. But this humble teacher won't take the credit - she's giving it back to them.
"I learn something from the students every day,” she said. “They're the ones who keep the education spark for me alive.”