For 18 years, Kevin Tobe has managed to get his students excited about math.
"He makes it interesting in a way we can all relate to it," said Johnny Choi, a Haslett High School Senior. "It's just pretty amazing to see him just work and encourage us."
Encouraging them to be critical thinkers, prepared to solve problems in the real world too.
"I like to build their confidence in all aspects of their lives, and it's not just about the math that they're learning every day," explained Kevin Tobe. "It's about how you'll overcome adversity, how you'll fight through challenges."
Kevin Tobe is the only teacher in the state of Michigan to win the Milken Educator Award this year, and students say that's because of the work he does in and out of the classroom.
"In sports he's a very great coach," said Shyan Goodrich who's on the track team. "He's very motivating, and like if you're having an issue, he'll help you out with it."
Making every lesson part of a larger equation.
"Things that are frustrating are very rewarding to teach," said Tobe. "Because if you can help a student through a difficult subject like math, I think there's a lot of value to get a lot out of that experience."
Experience students say they'll take with them long after high school.
"He really cares about his students and making sure that everyone truly loves what they do," said Aly Homminga, who's taking an AP class because of Tobe.
THe students really care about him too. That's why Tobe got a standing ovation when the school surprised him with the award in a special assembly.
"It's tough to get teenagers to stand up and cheer for anything, let alone getting one of the teachers," expressed Tobe. "I just feel honored to have the respect from all of them."
Respect they learned from an award-winning teacher.
Tobe is also the girls track coach. He's been doing that on and off over the last 10 years.
He graduated with a Bachelors and Masters degree from Michigan State University.