LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Kenwood Elementary fourth grade teacher Molly Schurfranz has been named an ExCel Award winner for excellence in classroom and educational leadership.

Schurfranz, who has taught in the Jefferson County School District for 17 years was honored in ceremonies at Kenwood School on Wednesday, January 27.

As a fourth grade teacher, Schurfranz teaches all the core concept subjects but believes that she is strongest in science and math.

She calls fourth grade crucial, a stepping stone as students become more independent as learners. 

"They learn how to think for themselves and be advocates for themselves," Schurfranz said.

Still, Schurfranz is a strong advocate for her students and their parents.

She goes outside the classroom with a website for Team Schurfranz that communicates with parents and even includes homework assignments if the students forget.

The new ExCel teacher said connecting with parents is an important part of teaching. She even gives every parent her personal cell phone number and encourages them to call.

She taught first at Bates Elementary but took another district job, in which she coached teachers in Jefferson County. But then Schurfranz felt the need to get back in the classroom and back with kids.

That brief tenure working with other teachers gave her a world of new ideas about teaching techniques.

Schurfranz is an ExCel Award winner who is always looking for new ways to teach in a job that she loves.

The ExCel award also includes a one thousand dollar teacher grant from co-sponsor LG and EKU.

Molly Schurfranz is a graduate of Bellarmine University and was a scholarship basketball player.