LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — April’s Teacher of the Month is Jesi Wishon. She teaches special education students at Leavenworth High School. That community serves lots of military families, and it was one of those parents who nominated her for how she’s helped their child.

After a decade working as a para, a case manager, at Kansas City Behavioral Health, Wishon was placed at Leavenworth High two years ago to work with special education students. She loves it. And it shows in the changes she’s helped make.

“Improving inclusion, and how our SpEd students interact with our regular students. We’ve given our SpEd students a lot more options the last two years here,” she said.

Wishon loves special education for deeply personal reasons. Her 9-year-old son has autism. She herself was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was 18.

“I had a professor in college who was like, “Hey, you have something wrong with you. Let’s go get you some help,’” she recalled.  1:51

“I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me, but then I went and got diagnosed and they were like, ‘You have really severe dyslexia.’ And so I want to help give voices to people who can’t speak up for themselves.”

That diagnosis changed her life. It explained her lifelong reading struggles and gave her the tools she needed to blossom. Now she pays that forward.

“We all become teachers for a reason… they say, ‘Remember your why.’”

She knows firsthand how a great teacher can help you change your life. She’s always looking for ways to give her students knowledge, tools, resources, and confidence so they can become as independent and successful as possible.

“I’m passing on life skills that these kids are gonna go get jobs. These kids are going to be functional members of society. These kids know that someone’s not going to give up on them and will help them always,” she said.

When FOX4’s crew was leaving, there was a discussion between a pizza party, new books, and school supplies as ways to spend her $750 prize. Hopefully they can budget for all of it!

You’re still welcome to nominate your favorite educator in the meantime at fox4kc.com/teacher. Each month’s winner receives a $750 gift card and is featured during FOX4 News at 4 p.m.  

FOX4’S Teacher of the Month is sponsored by Volkswagen Lee’s Summit.