Skaden named BEA’s 2019 Eddy Award winner
Justin Skaden not only works hard to keep our school looking nice, but he goes above and beyond to interact with the students. If you watch him walk down a student-filled hallway, you will notice that many of the students stop to talk. High fives are given and, “hey buddy” echoes through the hallway. His positive interactions with students have created so many relationships, especially from students who need positive interactions with staff at school. Justin’s commitment to our school and students is why Justin is deserving of the Eddy Award.”
These are the words that not only nominated Justin Skaden for Blue Earth Area’s prestigious Eddy Award, but helped him earn it. Though, really, it was Skaden’s actions and positive interactions with the BEA elementary students that earned him the award.
Skaden has been at Blue Earth Area as a custodian for the past five years, is a BEA graduate himself, and is a father of a couple of BEA students. To say his pride for maroon and gold runs deep would be an understatement.
When asked who some of his role models were at BEA, without any hesitation, Skaden mentioned his grandmother, Lois Wegner.
“The amount of time she took with kids there was something special,” he says. “She would take any different kind of approach to help her students learn on their level. She was creative and bright and she knew how to speak to children on their level. Not an adult’s level, their level.”
Skaden says he can tell the students who are struggling and works to show them some kindness, especially.
“If they can smile and have fun even just for that one or two minute interaction in the hallway, that may just create a better day for them and allow them to be more focused on their learning,” says BEA’s new Eddy Award winner.
The other person Skaden chooses to model his life after is his late father-in-law, Mark Frahm.
“He said I would get it and he was right,” says Skaden. “I kind of took over his job of greeting and joking with kids like he did. I want to continue his spirit in that sense create a fun, safe, positive place for students and staff alike to grow and enjoy learning.”
He and his wife, Ashley, along with their children Austin (14), Aubrey (10), and Maddie (2) do their best to live with Ashley’s father in mind being joyful, kind, and always willing to take time for others.
Skaden’s summer is just as busy as the school year as he goes from room to room, cleaning classrooms from floor to ceiling. His advice for people who struggle to find purpose in their work is this:
“Don’t let anything bother you or get to you and your goals,” he says. “You have to have that reason to go to work. I have worked with my friend, Kenny Welsch for a long time, and it helps to have someone who has the same sense of humor as you do. It’s also important to find the small, fun things that you do in your work.”
When it came to receiving the award, Skaden did not hesitate to say he was shocked to be the winner.
“I was up against some incredible nominees,” he notes. “The list was stacked with impactful people that work at BEA. Everyone on that list deserves this award.”