Tricounty News

She’s been called to teach in Africa

Teaching in Kimball for 25 years has been wonderful, but her heart is being pulled elsewhere

Deb Schmidt started teaching at Kimball in 1989, after teaching in two private schools in Fairmont. That first day, the new elementary school building wasn’t finished yet. For instance, three classes of third grade met in the media center, with packing boxes serving as wall dividers.

In these 25 years in Kimball, she has taught Title I for three years, and second, third, fourth, and sixth grades as well as multi-age for six years. She loved teaching the multi-age class. She has been a fourth-grade teacher for several years now.

She loves technology, but is concerned that it can be and should be safer.

Deb Schmidt is originally from Garner, Iowa. She met her husband Mike, who is from South Dakota, at Concordia University in St. Paul where she got her degree in
w-DebSchmidt1 Elementary Education. She later received a Master’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Winona.

Deb lives near Fair Haven with her husband Mike who is a retired school social worker. She and Mike raise bees. Their children Christian and Gretchen are both educators.

Mrs. Schmidt is retiring earlier than expected, as she is far from the Rule of 90. “It’s gonna be tough,” she admits. She loves teaching, and she loves her students. But something bigger is calling her.

Two years ago, Schmidt made a trip to Africa, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. She spent time in Tanzania and fell in love. Her dream now is to return to Tanzania to teach there.

While her retirement plans are not yet set, it is clear that travel is in her future. New Zealand may be their first long trip, perhaps in November. But Schmidt is being called to return to Tanzania to teach, to do mission work. “I’ve heard the call for awhile,” she says. Hiking, climbing, and having more adventures are in her near future.

“I have always taught my students to learn all they can learn, take risks, be kind to each other, accept people and their unique qualities because that is what makes us all special.

“It is time for me to learn more, experience more, and take a few more risks,” says Schmidt.

“I have always loved the saying ‘jump and the net will appear.’ I am excited to see how God will direct me as I travel down this new

“As said by Winnie the Pooh: ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard!

“I love Kimball kids, and will miss them and treasure my memories with them!

Mrs. Schmidt holds a photo of her on Mount Kilimanjaro two years ago. The trip was life-changing, and she hopes to return to Africa soon, to teach in Tanzania.
Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua.


This is where Deb Schmidt hopes to teach some day soon. Since her visit here two years ago, she has felt called to return to Tanzania in Africa.