CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson paid a surprise visit to his 6th grade teacher Wednesday morning, to help her celebrate her retirement after more than 30 years of guiding young minds.

Johnson visited Heather Hill Elementary School in Flossmoor to wish a happy retirement to Sue Aylmer.

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“She is a lot of the reason that I’m where I am now, because I listened to her,” he said.

Aylmer, who was known as Ms. Goeing when she taught Johnson at Mount Vernon Elementary School in Chicago, sent him a letter two weeks ago, telling him how proud it made her that one of her students has become the top cop at the second largest police department in the nation. That letter prompted Johnson to pay her a surprise visit on her last day of school.

“It really does bring back a lot of great memories, and that’s what kids growing up should have,” Johnson said.

Aylmer said Johnson was a good student, and she remembers him as one of her favorites.

“Eddie was always good, common sense; and sometimes a little jokester,” she said. “Some kids you like near you, and some you can trust back then, and I just remember he was a good kid; always wanted to help out. Probably swept up the floor for me.”

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Aylmer has been a teacher for 38 years, and never forgot about little Eddie.

“I’m very proud that another one of my students did good,” she said.

Johnson said he remembers her spending time with him, making sure he stayed on the right path. He said that memory gives him hope for all Chicago children today; that they might have the same type of influence or mentor.

“I could have easily went one direction, but I went in this direction, and a lot of it was because of teachers like Ms. Goeing,” he said. “I don’t have the words to say thank you enough to her and the other teachers that helped influence my life, and propel me to the place that I am, because I would not be here had it not been for them.”

They shared a class photo from Johnson’s 6th grade class, showing the future police superintendent with an impressive afro.

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Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson in 6th grade at Mount Vernon Elementary School in Chicago (Credit: CBS)

One of Johnson’s former classmates, Rosalynd Triplett, also teaches at Heather Hill School, and the superintendent said “she is still just as cute as she was.”