2022-23 Above & Beyond Awards recipient: Molly Schuster
“Molly is extraordinary. She connects with our students, knows [almost all 1,100 of] them by name and interacts with them to help recess be enjoyable for each student. Molly helps wherever help is needed and students love her!” - Anonymous nominator.
Molly Schuster, a paraeducator at Oxbow Creek Elementary School has been recognized as a 2022-23 Above & Beyond Awards recipient. Her primary role is to serve as a recess para for one of the largest elementary schools in the district, but she is still always asking, ‘How can I help,’ which has led her to being an important and impactful member of the Oxbow Creek community.
“It has always been my goal as an employee of the school who also lives in our community to be a positive voice for the kiddos and a good example of kindness.” Schuster said. “My role at Oxbow Creek is to create a safe and fun space for students to play. When I am outside, my goal is to work with students to build social skills and teach them how to work together, solve problems and use their words to tell people what they need.”
Schuster has worked seven years in Anoka-Hennepin and her roles have grown each year. She often serves as a special education substitute, works once a week in the media center and manages the books in the school's Little Free Library. This year she has also helped kindergartners with handwriting and fifth grade teachers with preparing materials for class. On her own time, Schuster has painted rocks with messages of kindness and left them around the playground for students to find.
As a recess para she prides herself on knowing as many names as possible, which can be difficult with almost 1,100 students attending Oxbow Creek, but she knows how important it is when connecting with students and resolving conflicts.
“I work hard to get their names right and ask the kids to correct me if I mispronounce them,” Schuster said. “I really enjoy getting to build relationships with the students and help them find ways to enjoy learning too.”
The 2023 Above & Beyond Awards ceremony to honor Schuster and 12 other exceptional employees took place March 29 at the Educational Service Center (ESC).
Watch her profile video.