Minnesota School Social Worker of the Year 2017
Mankato Area Public Schools
Molly Fox earned her MSW from The University of St. Thomas/ St. Catherines and has a B.S. degree in Corrections/Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Molly is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with 20+ years of experience serving youth and families. Molly is currently the district social work lead at Mankato Area Public Schools. Nominators, Mandy Kennedy, Mary Beth Patterson, Tiana Iverson, Lindsey Northenscold, Jenny Goff and Kaleb Lindsey-Stevens (Social Work Team) wrote of her leadership, “She helped create a presentation to show the need for mental health services services and presents yearly to our school board with other mental health support roles in the district. Her advocacy lead to the hiring of 6 school social workers; four of which were added in the last 4 years. This drive reflects how Molly demonstrates creative leadership and provides services for our students and their family. She is what we all strive to be as a Minnesota School Social worker.” Molly has served Mankato Area Public Schools for 14 years.
Beyond her advocacy to increase support to meet the mental health needs in her district, Molly has co-authored “Tools for Anxious Youth” curriculum with Amanda Bomstad, MS, NCC, NCSC and presented the curriculum around the state; including Minnesota School Social Workers Association conference, Minnesota School Counselor’s Conference and at the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health Conference. Molly has also presented on homeless youth for Mankato Area Public Schools. Sherri Blasing, Assistant Principal at Mankato West High School wrote, “She is highly knowledgeable and collaborative and is an irreplaceable member of the many teams and committees she serves upon. She is often consulted with and asked to present at a district level, professional organizations and throughout our community.” She adds, “Ms. Fox does not shy away from challenging situations, but remains calm and respectful, solution focused and works through emotionally charged situations with grace.”
Molly’s support of children and families goes beyond the walls of her schools to include volunteering on several community boards, including the YMCA Mankato Board of Directors, Region Representative for MSSWA, Feeding Our Communities Program, YMCA - Women’s Leadership Program, YMCA Girls on the Run Race, YMCA Re Run Program, Child Protection Teams in Nicollet and Blue Earth County and the MSW Board at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She is a member of School Social Worker’s Association of America (SSWAA) and Minnesota School Social Worker’s Association (MSSWA). She extends her service to the profession of school social work by teaching School Social Work at Minnesota State University for the past 15 years.
Cheryl Hammond, Director of Social Responsibility, Mankato Family YMCA wrote, "Molly is someone who is continually connecting the youth and families she works with to resources that can help them take positive steps forward in their life. Molly lives and breathes helping others. It is beyond a job for her but it is in her DNA. " She sites Molly’s advocacy to decrease the gaps in local transportation for students and the development of the reUse Shoe program; a program which has given out hundreds of shoes to kids who don’t have shoes.”
Molly reflects the “vital link between school, home and community” every day in her work. Matt Ringhofer, Professional School Counselor at Dakota Meadows Middle School wrote, "Her constant search in helping kids and families connect with the school community is second to none… Molly searches for new ways to help families, not just with general needs, but during the holidays and extended breaks such as “summer vacation”. Molly is always asking what else can we do to help this family?” Amanda Bomstad, Director of School Counseling, spoke of Molly’s values in writing: “Molly approaches all situations with a positive, can do attitude, even in the most dire, complication or awful scenarios. She is a force to be reckoned with, as the ultimate advocate for those she serves and will do everything possible to push for what is needed.” Assistant Principal at Dakota Meadows Middle School, Ken Essay shared his observations of Molly as the “vital link”; “Molly brings contagious passion, creativity, and a willingness to take risks to engage our students. This creativity allows her to engage all learners and their families; she goes above and beyond to connect students and families including home visits, delivering furniture, planning funerals, scheduling doctors appointments, delivering meals, organizing gift giving at the holidays, parent meetings and courageous conversations with staff and myself.”, he wrote.
Molly lives in North Mankato, MN with her husband and friend, Fred Fox. She is the mother of four fantastic children, Zach, Hannah, Patrick and Jack. She is the youngest of 8 kids and a friend to many. MSSWA is thrilled to acknowledge Molly Fox and her dedication to the profession. Her knowledge to support her colleagues, her commitment to students, and advocacy to the families she serves makes her our Minnesota School Social Worker of the year for 2017!