First-grade teacher Amanda Lundberg is known as the “reading whisperer” at Ridgecrest Elementary. She is able to find different ways to meet the specific needs of each student, even as she helps them to realize that struggling is learning and tough work is exciting. She is the queen of teaching phonics, fellow teachers say, and she has developed a stack of songs to help her students with difficult subjects. Her work is evident in her class’ accomplishments. In the fall, 38 percent of her students were at benchmark for Math computation. By winter, 95 percent were at benchmark. Every day she tells her kids, “If nobody has told you yet this morning that they love you, remember Mrs. L. does.” For these reasons and more, Lundberg has been chosen as Ridgecrest’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.