HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR-TV) — Each year teachers from across the state are nominated for New York Teacher of The Year. This year a special teacher from Herkimer High School in a finalist in the running.

Heather McCutcheon has been teaching art in Herkimer schools for 14 years. She’s been involved in everything from a National Art Education committee to Junior Class Advisor and writing articles for different publications. Her hard work and leadership never went unnoticed, but when McCutcheon found out she was nominated she was ecstatic.

“… And then to hear going through round one, into round two and then even to round three, it was excitement and just a wow, I’m just shocked to be honest,” says Heather McCutcheon Art Teacher, Herkimer Junior/Senior High School.

McCutcheon is 1 of 5 teachers still in the running and the only person in the region to ever make it this far. One of her students, Emmie Baker a junior at Herkimer High School, says McCutcheon deserves to win because she’s always supportive and understanding.

“She’s a nice person and she’s always there’s for you whenever you need it. She’s one of those teachers that you can always come talk to and you’re never afraid to,” said Baker.

McCutcheon says, “Relationships are key and really just getting to know the kids. The projects we do in here that’s one of the things we focused on especially this year, is helping them learn who they are.”

They won’t decide on a winner until some time in June, but McCutcheon says she’s still proud to be nominated. “There are so many amazing educators, so many amazing people out there and to be one in 5 it’s very humbling, it’s very amazing to be honest,” said McCutcheon.