Mr. Sheldahl is in the middle of his first year teaching math at Martin County West High School.

It took all but a couple months to make an impact on his new students and earn a nomination for a Golden Apple Award.

"It means a lot and it's good to be able to reach students and get them to be inspired.  Even if it's math," chuckled High School Math Teacher Cory Sheldahl.

Sheldahl has been in the southern Minnesota area a while now.

Before his position at Martin County West, he taught math at Heron Lake/Okabena where he won two awards in four years, voted on by his coworkers.

He didn't always know he wanted to be a teacher; he switched his major shortly after tutoring for a class.

"When I went to Minnesota State University–Mankato, I was originally going to be an engineer but I couldn't understand the professor so we had these peer tutor sessions and I found out I really like explaining the concepts to the people in my group.  So that made me switch from engineering to go into education," explained Sheldahl.

As we all know math isn't what quite what gets us all up out of bed in the morning.

To keep kids engaged and interested, he likes to know what's topical to students.

"Try to find a tie in," said Sheldahl.  "Try to find something that's relevant.  In this case, in geometry, trying to also find ways to visually describe things so that they can see it and be able to do it."

Smiles weren't hard to come by in Sheldahl's room.  Students were engaged and ready to learn.

--KEYC News 12