Kellie Blair Hardt named one of five National Teachers of the Year

Kellie Blair Hardt

It's a story of a struggle and triumph, adversity and inspiration. A local girl who grew up with the odds stacked heavily against her, struggled through school, even got expelled, but persevered, became an educator herself, and has just been named one of five National Teachers of the Year.

Kellie Blair Hardt, a science teacher at Metz Middle School in Manassas City, is tonight's Harris' Hero.

Hardt thinks outside the box to get through to her students.

"I teach learning disability students and attention deficit students," she says.

"She knows how to make this class fun," says Jordan Young, a 7th grader.

"And to be honored as one of the top five teachers in the nation is something that is very humbling to me and sometimes I get emotional about it simply because of my own upbringing," Hardt says.

"My natural mother was absent from my life," she says. "I just don't know her. We struggled with money and there were many times we were homeless."

"I began acting out, I was one of the students who got in trouble a lot," she says, "And I ended up being suspended multiple times and remember being in front of school board members when I was a young teenager and got expelled and got sent to alternative education."

Hardt says it was teachers who turned her life around and helped her become a teacher.

"She is a fantastic teacher. She is fabulous," says Tatiana Sorto, a 7th grader.

Hardt says the most important lesson she wants her students to learn is that no matter what their disability is they can accomplish anything when they put their minds to it.