ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JENNIFER PROFFITT
Marilyn Schmidt, the school clerk for USD 410 for the past 27 years, will say goodbye to the job she loves as she steps into retirement. Her last day was Oct. 20.
“It’s been quite an experience,” said Schmidt. “When you work in this particular position, you always identify with it. It’s just a source of pride for me to have worked here for the school district for this long and to have worked in this job. I have loved this job, it’s a part of me.”
Schmidt makes her job look easy, but it wasn’t always that way.
“That first year was a nightmare,” she said. “The thing about it was, when the previous clerk left, she had given her notice and then just left. When I came in, there was no one to train me for the job and there were no written instructions.”
Written instructions or not, Schmidt was a perfect fit for the job. Gordon Mohn, current superintendent, said, “I think other auditors use things she does as examples for other districts in how to operate.”
Schmidt jumped right into her work.
“I just went in and started doing some things and found what needed to be done and did it,” she said.
“I worked a lot of nights and a lot of weekends and my family didn’t see me a lot for a long time because there was so much to do. Not having any training was a disadvantage. I certainly don’t recommend starting a job that way, but I loved it, I really loved it all these years.
“You learn and you grow and things develop. It’s been an excellent job.”
Schmidt has witnessed several changes in her 27 years, including several building projects, major renovations, and technology updates.
“It’s really been fun to watch all the changes take place,” she said. “I think we have one of the finest school facilities in the state of Kansas.”
When she started her job, the school did not have computers, so they sent the financial information to a computer service.
Schmidt said: “We had to prepare all of the data and send it to them on forms, so there was a great deal of work involved. We continued to do that until the early 1990s until the school got computers, which is one of the biggest changes I’ve seen.”
Some of the changes she has seen were not so fun, but necessary.
“I think one of the saddest things to watch was the closing of the attendance centers in Lehigh and Durham,” she said. “But that’s all part of the progress.”
Schmidt has also seen several changes in personnel over the years, serving under four different superintendents. She had good things to say about each of them.
“The people have been great. We’ve had such excellent superintendents and school boards, and some of the best friends I’ve ever had are the people that I’ve worked with,” Schmidt said.
Those people would agree. Donna Dalke, who worked with Schmidt in the beginning said, “She is very accuracy oriented, and if you ever had a question, she would track the answer down. She was never too busy to help you, she would go out of her way to help people. She was also interested in you as a person, she’s just a good friend.”
Tracy Mosiman, kindergarten teacher for the past 14 years, said: “She is such a caring person. She just always put that personal touch in everything she did. I consider her a very dear friend. I hate to see her go.”
Even though she is retiring, Schmidt won’t go far. Mohn said,
“She lives right across the street, so although she’s retired, we can always call across the street to get information when we need it,” he said.
Schmidt has a passion for the outdoors, and even enjoys the trendy sport of rollerblading.
“I’ve always roller-skated but I had to get rollerblades when the grandkids talked about rollerblading, because I knew they were here on the weekends a lot and I’d have to be able to keep up with them,” she said.
Married to Willis Schmidt for 44 years, Marilyn decided to take early retirement because her husband has been retired for the past four years.
“I decided if we’re going to do something together while we still have our health and our sanity, I’d better take advantage of that time,” said Schmidt.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JENNIFER PROFFITT