MANKATO-- The Golden Apple Award Recipient for this week is a Mankato Area Public Schools' Art Teacher Amy Muehlenhardt, an educator who always takes the extra step to inspire her students with creativity. 

Rosa Parks Elementary Principal Michelle Kruize said Muehlenhardt is a teacher that constantly goes above and beyond. 
"She also teaches one day a week at Bridges, she is a fabulous art educator, we are so lucky to have her," said Kruize. 

"[She] collaborates with classroom teachers to provide opportunities for students, to integrate art into other areas of their learning."
Muehlenhardt has taught at Rosa Parks since 2009, writing grants for special field trips, planning a huge visual arts night for families, all while bringing creative fun to her classroom.

All of these reasons and more, is why she is scheduled to receive the Minnesota Elementary Art Educator of the Year Award. 

Recipient Amy Muehlenhardt said she is happy to be recognized for both awards. 
"It's fun to go beyond that classroom with recognition, but in the classroom really is where I receive most of praise and excitement from the kids," said Muehlenhardt.

"Who [kids] get so excited about the art lessons, get excited about trying new things doing science and art combined and, that's where it all starts."
As someone who gravitated to art at any early age, the art teacher has lots of knowledge on the aspects of art, and wanted to share that with her students.
"We are a choice- based art room and so that means students are leading, they're learning by making lots of decisions," said Muehlenhardt.
The educator teaches about 600 students in a week; kindergarten, first, third, and fourth graders at Bridges Community Elementary and K- 5 at Rosa Parks.

However the curriculum varies, she leaves each student with one special motto.
"Think like an artist in everything that you do," said Muehlenhardt.

" Which is to try, never give up, be creative, solve problems, and be positive, and I think that will take you a far way."

Muehlenhardt will be honored at an awards ceremony on Saturday, November 3.

-- KEYC News 12