Ms. Schmidt Inspires Future Writers


Ms. Schmidt is writing the Great American Novel and teaches English at deToledo High School in her spare time.

Even though Ms.Schmidt is relatively new to de Toledo High School, her presence has already made a huge impact. Students sing her praises in the halls and stand in line to request her as their Drishat Shalom mentor and college reference. As a teacher to juniors and seniors, Ms.Schmidt has inspired countless students throughout her three years working here at school.

Ms.Schmidt was born in Minneapolis but later moved to Florida. She attended Emerson College for her undergraduate degree and majored in Writing Literature and Publishing. After graduating from Emerson College she attended CalArts for graduate school, majoring in writing. Straight from graduating CalArts she started working at de Toledo.

Why did you want to become a teacher and did you want to do anything else?

“Well, I had always wanted to be a college professor and a writer. Teaching and writing fiction was the main goal.  However, once I got into my grad program and started my teaching apprenticeship, I noticed how difficult it is nowadays to get a decent, steady teaching job at a college or university. I’d still love to make my living as a writer, but who has the time these days to write the next great American novel?”

What do you do during your free time outside of school?

“I love going on weekend getaways, whether it be to the desert or mountains or a national park. When I’m not doing that, I hang out in bed for far too long, play Pokemon, go out with friends, hike, read, watch movies. Nothing too thrilling.”

Did you have a teacher who inspired you in anyway?

“Yes, my freshman year of college I had a fiction writing teacher named Professor Meany. His name was a self-fulfilling prophecy because he was a total jerk. The first day of class he told us that nobody would be getting an A unless we were producing work that could be published. Half the class dropped out the next day. I didn’t get an A in the class (nobody did), but I did get an A on one of the stories I wrote that semester. I had never felt so proud of myself. It’s one of the only A’s I felt like I really earned. (Yes, grade inflation was a problem back then too.)”

If you could give one piece of advice to the students you teach what would that be?

“Get control of your mind now. Your whole life will be determined by the way you perceive the world. It took me 28 years to figure out that I could control my emotions, and that I had the power to determine if I was going to have a good or bad day. You can actually retrain your brain to create new neural pathways, which changes your mode of thinking. Turns out you don’t have to be in a bad mood all the time. Who knew?”

If you could go anywhere or do anything (and could spend all the money in the world) what would you do?

“There’s this travel thing that Anderson Cooper does that I have wanted to do since high school. He uses this company where you buy a flat rate plane ticket, and you get to go to 15 countries or something like that. You determine how long you stay in each place. I’d stay a month in each place, in a nice apartment or house, and fly my friends and family out to visit me wherever I was.”

What is your biggest dream?

“To explore the world with someone I love and be paid to write about it.”

What does it mean to be a woman?

“What an interesting question. Being a woman is a constant juggling game. How can we be powerful but not intimidating? How can we be empathetic and generous but not a doormat? How can we be confident but not vain? I mean, we live in a time where women are coming forward and confronting painful injustices and finally being heard, and a portion of men are still salty about it. But, nowadays, it’s easy to see through it all. Only insecure men are constantly threatened by strong women. That’s just common psychology. Giving women a seat at the table doesn’t mean men lose theirs. There’s room for all of us.”