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Schmidt fell in love with math during his youth

Chuck Schmidt got a taste of adult life at an early age.

While in first grade, he was given the job of figuring bills for his father's oil delivery company - a job he did without the help of calculators.

"My Dad trusted me enough to put it on the invoice," he said.

That started his interest in mathematics and he was hooked.

"I was always good at math and science and I wanted to do something with it," he said. "Instead of being an engineer, I went into teaching."

Schmidt has only had one teaching job - 32 years in the Ellsworth School District as a junior high/ high school mathematics teacher. He will retire at the end of this school year.

The Waukesha native graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in physics and a minor in secondary mathematics.

When looking for a teaching job in 1975, he jumped at the Ellsworth opportunity because of its proximity to a favorite hobby.

As a youth, Schmidt's parents would take him and his eight younger siblings on a houseboat and they would ride the Mississippi during the summer time.

"I wanted a job closer to the river so I could be on a houseboat," he said.

Schmidt recalled his first year in Ellsworth fondly as both he and his wife Marilee had six broken bones that year. Each broke a leg -- Marilee while she was nine months pregnant with the couple's first child, Christopher.

Throughout his 32 years, Schmidt has taught algebra, geometry, general math, pre-algebra and physics in grades 7-12.

He said he's enjoyed teaching both junior high and high school students - junior high for their energy and then high school students for their maturity.

A fundamental of his teaching style, he explained, is being project-oriented to show how much math can be and is used in everyday life.

"Math can be one of the most exciting classes around," he said.

"Teachers have to have a sense of humor because if they don't, they're not going to make it," Schmidt added. "To me, having a sense of humor will make the kids listen and become interested in what you're saying."

"I know I'll miss it," he said about being in the classroom on a daily basis.

In regards to retiring, he felt the time was right because there were still more things he wanted to do with his life.

He wants to spend more time with family. Along with Christopher, who is now a petro-physicist in Houston, the couple has three other children: Eric, who lives in Wausau; Matthew, who recently graduated from UW-Madison in chemical engineering; and Sara, who is majoring bio-chemical engineering, also in Madison.

Schmidt said his wife, who is a Head Start CESA 11 teacher in Ellsworth, has no plans on retiring.

He is looking forward to traveling down both the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. He has also purchased a lot in the Spooner/ Webster area and plans eventually to build a log cabin on the site. Other interests include playing guitar and drawing portraits.

Schmidt's one piece of advice for parents is to urge them to get involved with their child's education from the start.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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