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Band teacher among best in state

Steven Schmitz doesn’t receive Teacher of the Year award but becomes finalist

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Band teacher among best in state

Junior David Klein said even though band teacher Steven Schmitz did not become Teacher of the Year, he is still an accomplished teacher.

“Mr. Schmitz is not only an incredible person, but an incredible teacher,” Klein said. “I know from his perspective, he wasn’t that set on winning. He was one of, if not the only band teacher in the running, so he was really proud … he honestly deserves a world of support for everything he does.”

According to Schmitz, the winner of the competition was announced May 5 and he felt invigorated by the event, which hosted a number of other passionate teachers.

“The event was really validating for a teacher and kicks off Teacher Appreciation Week. We were in a room of 500 and everybody (there) believes in what teachers do and they should be given respect and fair pay,” Schmitz said. “It was really inspiring as well because the other finalists were outstanding people and teachers I will stay friends with.”

Senior Lexi Lee said she was saddened that he didn’t receive the award; however, she still thinks he is an amazing teacher.

“I’m a little disappointed, I think he definitely could have gotten the Teacher of the Year award,” Lee said. “But like he said in class, it’s just an award and we still think he’s a great teacher.”

According to sophomore Keeley Berntsen, the award is still meaningful for Schmitz and exemplifies how impactful his work is.

“Schmitz definitely deserved to be in the top (nine) because he really tries to connect with all his students and he cares about everyone,” Berntsen said. “(It’s significant) because it’s still a big accomplishment for him and it shows that his teaching really led to something great for him.”

I’m a little disappointed, I think he definitely could have gotten the Teacher of the Year award,” Lee said. “But like he said in class, it’s just an award and we still think he’s a great teacher.”

— Lexi Lee

Schmitz said he is proud of his accomplishments, but is glad that he did not receive the Teacher of the Year Award as it would have taken him out of the classroom.

“To be absolutely honest with you it’s a little bit of a relief because I am extremely honored to be named (among the top) nine out of 86 thousand teachers in Minnesota,” Schmitz said. “The one who won is outstanding. She is a black female teacher from south St. Paul, but she (has) already done several media tours.They told us that (the winner is) out of the classroom (a lot) and I want to be in the classroom with my students.”

According to Lee, the fact that Schmitz was one of only nine finalists proves he is an amazing teacher.

“There are so many high school teachers all around Minnesota and the fact that he was able to make it that far in the competition is really impressive and says a lot about him as a person,” Lee said.

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