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Superintendent Listening Post

Goodbye, Mr. Schmitz


After 27 long, meaningful years of teaching at Mayo High School, Mr. Schmitz has officially announced he is retiring. Known by many as a teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend, Mr. Schmitz leaves behind a legacy of learning, laughter, and love for Mayo High School. Words like dedicated and phenomenal are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to words describing him.

Mr. Schmitz began his teaching career at Mayo High School but switched to John Marshall High School for three of his earliest teaching years. However, he couldn’t get enough of the Spartan community and switched back to teaching at Mayo shortly thereafter in 1997. Throughout his career he has taught AP Government, Modern European History, American Studies, US History, Economics, American Government, and other social studies courses. 

There’s no question that Mr. Schmitz cares about the school, his colleagues, and his students.  He explained that, “among the staff we are very close. [It] feels like family. It’s very comforting.” 

As far as the rest of the Spartan family goes, he believes that, “students are very engaged, not just academically, but [they are] socially aware and involved in a lot of different things and doing things outside of school.” His 27 years here have left a deep feeling of truly being a part of something special, a feeling that is reciprocated by students, staff, and parents.

His favorite memories of his time at school involved GOFA and the holidays. He remembers his classes fondly: “the thing I always liked about teaching is that every year is different because the students and their personalities are different, so [even though] every year you’re teaching the same subject as you taught the year before, it changed based on the students that you had.” It always led to new approaches, spontaneity, and little shifts of focus to different aspects of the subject and of learning in general.

Outside of school Mr. Schmitz has a love of reading, Star Trek (fun fact: his birthday is on Star Wars Day, so his students gave him a Darth Vader present), the movies, and traveling with his wife. As a result, he admits that once he is retired he will be spending more time with his wife, who also retired from Mayo two years ago, and their grandson. He and his wife are planning on going on a vacation out to the East to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. 

Mr. Schmitz’s advice to upcoming and new teachers is to stick with it; “it’s a very hard profession right now and for different reasons. Young teachers in particular are underpaid, under-appreciated, and overworked, but what we do as teachers is very important.” 

Mr. Schmitz, from the The Advocate staff and the other students here at Mayo, we’d like to share our thanks and gratitude for all you have done for the Spartan family; may your retirement be as fulfilling as your career was.

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