Alumna Earns Teacher of the Year Honors in St. Louis

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Maggie Schuh, '07

Maggie Schuh, ’07, didn’t come to Rockhurst knowing she wanted to be a teacher.

In fact, she didn’t know what her major would be at all. And upon graduating with an English degree, she entered the corporate world, not education. But, the recent English Educator of the Year and Teacher of the Year for the St. Louis Public Schools said, she did eventually find herself in the classroom, and wouldn’t change any part of her story now.

Having earned top honors in her subject and among all teachers in St. Louis, Schuh now becomes a candidate for the Missouri Teacher of the Year honor, which will be announced in August.

Schuh said she didn’t know she was being nominated for the English Educator of the Year honor until she was asked by school district staff to fill out an application. Receiving the English Educator of the Year Award from the St. Louis Public Schools in front of students, faculty, staff and friends, she said, in the library she helped create, was an honor in and of itself. At the time, she admits she didn’t know it meant she was in the running for the Teacher of the Year honor, too.

“I honestly didn’t even know that was a thing,” she said. “When they said my name, I was genuinely shocked.”

It’s the culmination of what has been quite a journey. As a Rockhurst student, Schuh said she chose English because it was always a favorite subject of hers. And, she said, to help prove a point.

“I felt like the study of English is the study of communicating and that everyone, no matter the career, could benefit from strengthening those skills,” she said. “I still feel this way. Whenever anyone would ask me, ‘So you’re going to be a teacher?’ my staunch reply was an aggressive ‘You can do anything with an English degree!’ I was determined to be proof.”

After college, Schuh went into sales. Those communication skills, it turns out, did come in handy — she was good at what she did and enjoyed a lucrative start to her career. But she still found herself wanting something more. And she’s found it as an educator.

“Although it was not a straight path to teaching, I would not change my journey by one step,” she said. “The years I spent in sales strengthened my skills of persuasion. All the missed sales opportunities, all the disappointments only thickened my skin for the classroom.”

In August, Schuh said she will start her eighth year as an English teacher at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, teaching freshman literature and AP literature and composition. In addition to her work in the classroom, Schuh also helped organize and sponsor the school’s Creative Writing Club, with its city-ranked spoken-word poetry team, and the school’s literary magazine.

One of the things that she’s most proud of, she said, is the effort to establish a library at the school.

Starting with about 300 titles collected from among the school’s faculty, Schuh said she worked to get the word out about the effort among friends and on social media, eventually gathering 2,500 books for the shelves, many of them coming from fellow Rockhurst alumni.

“I know that kids will never become great readers if they don’t enjoy reading,” she said. “So I decided to create a space full of high-interest, leveled options for my students – a space where they could play, explore, and discover the joy of books.”