Nora Molina, the family liaison for pre-kindergarten students in CCSD21, has a passion for helping people, education and traveling. She is enthusiastic and free-spirited; but her life started out in a very conservative way. She attended a strict Catholic all-girls school in Mexico City. It was a traditional institution where you didn’t dream of questioning the nuns. She was taught to be disciplined, always give 100% and have faith. When it came time to attend college, Nora was drawn to a career as a preschool teacher, but was encouraged by others to study engineering where she could possibly have a more lucrative career. She followed other people’s advice; not her heart.
After graduating from the Metropolitan University in Mexico City, she worked in quality control in a glass recycling manufacturing plant. “I was working mostly with machines, not people,” And the desire to help others and keep learning was still there. So after a few years, she announced to her friends and family that she was leaving that industry. Taking a risk, she moved to Monterrey, Mexico, with one of her best childhood girlfriends. They saved money to travel and were taking English as a Second Language classes. Nora wanted to fulfill her dream of helping others and travel around the world. Becoming a flight attendant seemed like a perfect match. Her fiancé’s job relocated them to Colorado Springs. Nora moved to the U.S. on a freezing night on New Year’s Day. “ I missed all my family, my friends and the endless love I have always experienced with my grandmother’s home cooking.” Her very first winter in Colorado, she experienced skiing at Breckenridge, snowmobiled and cut the very first natural Christmas tree in the snowy mountains. In the spring, she visited the beautiful mountains of Aspen.
Nora got her First Wings after she graduated from the American Airlines Academy. She met plenty of people from different backgrounds, and without a doubt experienced the passion of wonderful instructors who did everything they could to help them succeed. After 9/11, she volunteered at Meals on Wheels, the Indian Trails Public Library, and was invited to participate at the Wheeling Citizens Police Patrol. All the while taking classes that tapped into her interests. Ultimately, she attended Harper to study early childhood education, the field she was originally interested in pursuing. She also worked in Montessori schools, private schools and volunteered at public schools.
As a family liaison for District 21, she assists families with needs so that students can be more successful. She has a unique ability to feel the room and is aware of what others need. Going the extra mile was something the nuns in Mexico taught her. “I want people to reach their goals. I’ve helped secure food, clothes, and furniture for families new to the district that don’t have anything,” said Nora. “I help them fill out forms, support and teach them about the schools and living in America. I’ve been there and I know what it’s like. I want to give to others what I received. I owe others what I am today.”
Indeed, Molina convinced a mother who kept her 5-year old special needs son home from school for an entire year. “The mother didn’t want to leave the child. She had separation anxiety. But I told her that if she loves the child, she needs to let him attend school so he can reach his goals. I also told her that there will be four of the best professionals in the class to take care of him. I even told her to wait in the car while the child was in school and that I would call her to give her updates. This child has graduated to kindergarten and the mother is grateful for the transformation she sees in her son, who has gained skills and confidence,” said Nora.
Not only is this mother grateful for the help Molina gave, District 21 is grateful for Nora, a staff member who takes risks and encourages others to do the same.