Joy for teaching pours from the Schmidt family. This brood’s mother, Jane Schmidt, attended Catholic school and taught for 19 years before becoming principal at Highland Catholic in St. Paul 18 years ago. Now, all three of her children are educators for Catholic schools.
Corrie Schmidt has taught kindergarteners at Highland Catholic for 11 years. Paul Schmidt has been teaching fourth grade for nine years at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School in Edina. Mary Schmidt has been the middle school math teacher and technology specialist for five years at St. Pascal Baylon School in St. Paul.
Jane’s mom taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Roscoe. Her uncle, Nick Zaczkowski, was a biology professor at St. John’s University in Collegeville for 30 years. Her husband, Dan, is a retired special education teacher.
“Our parents never pushed us into teaching,” Paul said. “We learned to respect the profession through their example.”
Like a favorite uniform sweater, teaching was a comfortable fit for the Schmidt children. They’d often accompany their mom to work and help teach faith formation. As teenagers, they worked at Highland Catholic’s daycare.
Even their pets felt at home in schools; they were all classroom pets at one time.
Why Catholic schools?
Jane loves education with a faith-based, sacramental piece that frames life.
“Catholic social teaching is an important component to being charitable and supporting others,” she said.
Mary likes how Catholic schools foster a deeper friendship and a beautiful community.
Paul enjoys seeing students puff up with pride when they spot their “Mass buddies” in the hall, referring to the practice of pairing older students with younger children for Mass.
Corrie appreciates that siblings can be together since many of the Catholic schools have pre-K- eighth-grade programs. Having this range of grades under one roof also teaches middle school students to be cognizant of younger ones and to think outside themselves.
The Schmidts huddle together for Minnesota Vikings games. During commercials, it’s teacher-talk time — where they share stories or attempt to solve problems.
Paul is Jane’s urban dictionary regarding questions about images, words or slang. Mary and Corrie “mother hen” Paul’s class, helping him navigate the girl-waters of teaching.
What does Jane think about all her children being educators?
“Teachers are blessed every day. Who wouldn’t want that for their kids?” she said. “I love telling people they’re all teachers.”