Schlechter named school district Teacher of the Year
Published: Thursday, March 28th, 2013
For Tammy Jo Schlechter, teaching isn’t just a job, it’s a way to touch lives.
“I call teachers ‘lifetouchers,’ because that’s what we do, touch lives,” she said. “We teachers want to benefit our students and help them.”
Schlechter and her sparkling personality light up the halls at Hermosa, where she teaches math, American history and reading. She has been with the Custer School District for six years.
“I started writing my closings on my emails ‘Sparkling in Education’ some time ago because I love to sparkle and smile for those around me everyday,” she said. “I don’t know everything about math or even history because I still have so much left to learn. However, I know I can smile and share that sparkle with those around me. That is why I like to sparkle in education. I believe it is my purpose in life.”
Because of her sparkling personality, Schlechter’s peers and students love to work and be around her.
“She has excellent rapport with her students, shows a sincere interest in them as individuals and is consistently fair in dealing with them,” said school district superintendent Scott Lepke. “Mrs. Schlechter can be seen at many of the student’s event and activities in support of their efforts. The students truly appreciate seeing her there to cheer them on. “
Lepke said Schlechter is always looking for ways to improve her instructional strategies by making teaching more interesting and informative to benefit her students.
“Her classroom is always a positive place for her students,” he said. “The classroom reflects her positive, optimistic attitude about life and education. I have never met anyone so positive and passionate about education.”
In the past, she taught fourth through eighth grades in country school settings.
“I taught everything for core subjects, but I really trained hard in math and science early on in my career,” she said.
Schlechter grew up in rural South Dakota near Millboro, where she attended Millboro Country School from second to eighth grades. Her family ranched and had a dairy so Schlechter grew up milking cows, feeding calves, chasing pigs and collecting eggs. They even had sheep, so Schlechter was lucky enough to cuddle and bottle feed lambs. Schlechter and her three younger sisters participated in 4-H, where she often showed her favorite pigs, cattle and horses.
“I grew up with my family and the good ol’ Millboro Church and community,” she said. “Those years spent in my country school led me down the path towards becoming a life toucher.”
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