Lo­cal Catholic ed­u­ca­tor mourned by col­leagues

Waterloo Region Record - - Local - LIZ MONTEIRO [email protected]­cord.com Twit­ter: @Mon­teiroRecord

WATER­LOO RE­GION — Michael Sch­mitt, a revered and re­spected Catholic ed­u­ca­tor in Water­loo Re­gion, died of can­cer on Thurs­day.

Sch­mitt spent 37 years in Catholic ed­u­ca­tion, as a teacher, prin­ci­pal, su­per­in­ten­dent and ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor. Sch­mitt was 65.

He started his teach­ing ca­reer in Belleville and then moved to Water­loo Re­gion.

He was the found­ing prin­ci­pal of Res­ur­rec­tion Catholic Sec­ondary School in 1988. After a stint as su­per­in­ten­dent, he worked for the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry and then ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor in Kingston be­fore re­tir­ing in 2011.

“Michael was a tremen­dous leader for this board but an even more spe­cial hu­man be­ing,” wrote Loretta Not­ten, ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor for the Water­loo Catholic Dis­trict School Board, in a let­ter to staff on Fri­day.

Not­ten de­scribed Sch­mitt as some­one whose rep­u­ta­tion was be­yond re­proach.

“He was ev­ery­thing we would want a Catholic leader to be and he will be sin­cerely missed by all who knew him,” she said.

While Roger Lawlor was di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion for the school board, Sch­mitt be­came a su­per­in­ten­dent.

“He was a vi­sion­ary, a cham­pion for spe­cial needs stu­dents,” Lawlor said.

“He was pas­sion­ate about stu­dents and their wel­fare and worked dili­gently to en­sure the case was made to sup­port learn­ers first,” he said.

School board trustee Wendy Price said she first met Sch­mitt when she started as a teacher.

She was im­ple­ment­ing a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram at Mon­signor Doyle school in Cam­bridge, the same pro­gram for gifted stu­dents that Sch­mitt had put in at St Jerome’s High School.

“Michael worked hard for the marginal­ized as well as for all stu­dents,” she said.

“He be­lieved in cre­at­ing safe spa­ces and pro­grams to meet the needs of all learn­ers,” Price said.

Price was also on the board when Sch­mitt “brought a sense of calm and di­rec­tion” by com­ing out of re­tire­ment to serve as its in­terim di­rec­tor.

Sch­mitt also sat on the board of the Sup­port­ive Hous­ing of Water­loo and other or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing Hos­pice Water­loo Re­gion, Out of the Cold and United Way Water­loo Re­gion.

Sch­mitt is sur­vived by his wife Deb­o­rah and daugh­ter Kate­land.

Vis­i­ta­tion will be held Wed­nes­day at Henry Walser Fu­neral Home in Kitch­ener from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

A fu­neral mass will be held at St. Louis Catholic Church Water­loo on Thurs­day at 11 a.m.

Michael Sch­mitt

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