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Jordan Public Schools (JPS) is thrilled to congratulate Laurie Schmidt, Jordan Middle School Teacher, on being chosen as the Minnesota Middle School Association's Educator of the Year


Laurie Schmidt, Jordan Middle School Teacher, Named Minnesota Middle School Association's Educator of the Year

Jordan Public Schools (JPS) is thrilled to congratulate Laurie Schmidt, Jordan Middle School Teacher, on being chosen as the Minnesota Middle School Association's Educator of the Year.

The Coleen Yatchoske Middle Level Educator of the Year Award is sponsored by the Minnesota Middle School Association (MMSA). Coleen Yatchoske was a strong advocate for middle level education and instrumental in the creation of MMSA. The Middle Level Educator of the Year Award provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding middle level educators and to call attention to the importance of this profession.

JMS colleague Rose Johnson nominated Laurie Schmidt for this award and shared in her essay, “Each year Laurie prepares tirelessly, as many teachers, to create an optimal plan of learning for her students; she sorts through her plethora of self-purchased activities and researches the best strategies for her unique learners, many of whom have a learning style of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).”

Laurie Schmidt has been teaching in the district since 2005. Despite a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 with continuing medical care and interventions, Laurie remains optimistic and dedicated to her students and the profession of teaching.

Johnson continued, “Laurie Schmidt has always been a Teacher of the Year for her students at Jordan Middle School; however, these past few years she has provided a heroic model of perseverance that should be honored as 2020 has been no exception.”

Beyond her teaching colleagues, Laurie’s accolades continue to be echoed by the Jordan Public Schools leadership team.

Chad Williams, Director of Special Services, shared how Laurie has shaped the success of ASD programming at Jordan Public Schools. “Laurie developed a well known ASD program in the SouthWest Metro area at Jordan Middle School. Laurie’s program is something that we all are very proud of. She has put in countless hours to ensure her program meets the needs of all of her students. There is no one that has put in the time working with students and families as Laurie; not even her health challenges can hold her back! She is well deserving of this award.”

Jordan Middle School Principal, Ben Bakeberg noted Laurie’s advocacy as her strength. “Laurie knows her students and families and advocates for those individual needs on a daily basis. This never ending passion and commitment to her students has continued despite her health challenges. As the learning models have changed with COVID, Laurie is still able to support students and families in a unique, virtual setting through the Jordan Virtual Academy. Nothing can stop Laurie and her determination to always serve her students and families; this is a well deserved honor for an amazing person!”

Superintendent of Schools, Ranae Case Evenson echoed with congratulations, “Laurie is so deserving of this recognition! I first worked with Laurie many years ago when I was a teacher in the district. She has always been and continues to be the kind of teacher and colleague that steps up in any scenario and always puts students first. We are so fortunate to have such dedicated educators like Laurie here at Jordan Public Schools!”

After hearing the award announcement, Laurie shared, “I am so humbled and honored, and it's hard to believe. It’s great staff and support from colleagues that help me be the teacher I am.  This year has been the biggest challenge [since her cancer diagnosis in 2013].” When asked how she remains positive and open about her journey, Laurie shared, “I'm ok with sharing. People can learn from it… that you can have a full life with cancer.”

Laurie Schmidt will be recognized by the MMSA Board and membership during a virtual event taking place on January 12, 2021.