LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Welcome to the busy halls, and we mean busy halls of Doss High School.

And as usual, Kelli Dattilo is right in the middle of things.

She arrives at school between 5 and 5:30 a.m. In the wee hours, she grades papers, makes corrective notes to students, long before they arrive.

“Teaching is a second career for me, so it's just a passion. I love being here. I love being here with my kids. I call them turtles. I don't know why,” she said.

The turtles are currently studying a play by Henrik Ibsen. The Dolls House deals with gender roles and stereotypes, which leads the class to examine social justice issues in the community.

“We're working on empathy and inclusion and how we can become more inclusive of different genders, different sexual orientations, just different people, different from us,”

For her work in the classroom and her influence all over Doss, Kelli Dattilo came a moment to ExCel.

With the ExCel, Kelli's classroom gets a $1000 teacher grant from LG&E and KU.

Kelli's been a winner before. Like last fall when the Doss Dragons were down 20-0 in a football game with Fern Creek, and Kelli walked the sidelines with her camera encouraging the team. In the 4th quarter, Doss made a comeback and tied it with two seconds left.

Kelli is determined to inspire her kids right to the very end.

“This is the last-ditch effort. These kids are about to leave us, and I want them to be prepared to be community leaders and to be active in the community and what they do after high school,” she said.

Kelli has twice been voted the most influential teacher at Doss High. she's an ExCel teacher who will be remembered long after students leave her class.