SHADYSIDE, Ohio (WTRF) — Enjoyable is the word he uses to best describe the kind of experience he wants his students to feel in his classroom.

February’s Golden Apple Award recipient is a Belmont County teacher who has the heart of gold and delivers his positive personality on a kid-sized kindergarten platter.

Jefferson Elementary Principal Cynthia Caldwell and Superintendent John Haswell can agree first year kindergarten teacher Greg Mehlman is a wonderful addition to their school.

There’s no feeling like getting those keys and walking in to a blank slate where you can make it your own. Set a name for yourself in a career you’ve been preparing for for years.

Greg Mehlman, Golden Apple Recipient, Kindergarten Teacher

Mr. Mehlman’s positivity shines every day. He’s always looking as to ways to lift the students or the staff or his colleagues. He just truly loves what he’s doing.

Cynthia Caldwell, Jefferson Elementary Principal

Superintendent Haswell is also a grandparent to one of Mr. Mehlman’s students.

Haswell says reading to his granddaughter’s class is a huge highlight of his day.

Whenever I come into read, they’ll yell, Yay, here’s Pappy. And so and I thank him for the opportunity to do that because of all the things I have to do on my job that is my favorite to interact with these students.

John Haswell, Shadyside Local School District Superintendent

Academics are priority one, but Mr. Mehlman says it is what he sees when he walks into his classroom that melts his heart most.

When I come in here in the morning, it’s always a breath of fresh air to see 18 little ones so excited to see you it makes coming to work enjoyable, and definitely worth it.

Greg Mehlman, Golden Apple Recipient, Kindergarten Teacher

A sign he displays for his students but is very fitting for him.

Mr. Mehlman is the reason someone is smiling in his classroom today.

This note reads, A rose was made just for you, Mr. Mehlman.

He lives, he loves, he teaches students responsibility of how to care for fish in a fish tank.

Like in the fish community, he builds in his students a sense of belonging.

This blue beauty chirps mostly in the mornings.

A potential distraction for the children instead he uses it as a teaching tool.

I take care of the bird because that’s a little bit harder for them to do however, the bird being, it’s making noises and they can hear it is teaching them different, focusing skills never been able to that they’ve never been able to focus on before and that’s an outside noise when we’re focusing on a topic in class.

Greg Mehlman, Golden Apple Recipient, Kindergarten Teacher

He will tell you he can be a bit of character in his classroom in hopes of holding onto their attention at the end of a long day.

Whether I am on a table, whether I am under a table, in front of the classroom dressed up for spirit week, I want the to remember how much fun they had in the classroom.

Greg Mehlman, Golden Apple Recipient, Kindergarten Teacher

Plenty of fun and of learning are happening for sure. He really wants his kids to feel nurtured, a place where it all starts, according to him, where he can foster a love for education in them.

We are setting a foundation for our future. Current educators, current doctor, current lawyers, we’re all in these seats at one point. And how important is that to instill that same education that we received in these guys as they are going to be leading our country one day.

Greg Mehlman, Golden Apple Recipient, Kindergarten Teacher

Mr. Mehlman graduated from Ohio University Eastern in 2019 and has already received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education.

He says he aspires to one day become a school principal.