Rhonda Schmaltz

Rhonda Schmaltz

Lucas Bleyle, Co-Editor in Chief

After 20 years working at Ames High, business teacher Rhonda Schmaltz will be retiring at the end of the semester. In her time she has taught numerous classes including accounting, desktop publishing, intro to business, and personal finance.

“I went to college to be an interior designer and minored in business,” Schmaltz said. However, while there she ran into some interior design classes that made her change her mind. “At that point business was kind of tearing at me and I’d had an amazing business teacher in High school.” Schmaltz said. “I just always loved her approach to teaching. She always made every kid feel special in the classroom. She laughed with us and shared a lot of great stuff with us. She was a huge inspiration.”

Schmaltz’s mother had been a teacher, and despite witnessing her mother spending a ton of time outside of school hours grading papers, Schmaltz decided she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher.

When it came time to come to really go with my gut, teaching was what I wanted to do and I’ve never regretted it at all.

— Rhonda Schmaltz

“When it came time to come to really go with my gut, teaching was what I wanted to do and I’ve never regretted it at all,” Schmaltz said. Before coming to Ames High, Schmaltz taught at at DMACC, Hawkeye community college, and Urbandale High School.

In her years teaching she has seen many changes. Some classes that she taught like keyboarding have come and gone with the evolution of technology. “When I graduated from UNI computers were barely around. My whole undergraduate degree I did on a typewriter. So yeah it has been a huge change,” Schmaltz said. “It’s changed the availability of curriculum for teachers… Instead of just your own brain now you’ve got the whole world that shares ideas. As for students, [evolving technology] has been an incredible opportunity for them.”

After so much change, she is looking forward to the final change of her teaching career, her retirement. “I think it will just be nice to decide what I am going to do for the day and do it. If it doesn’t get done one day I’ll get it done the next day. Just having that freedom to make some choices and do some things I haven’t had time to do,” Schmaltz said. She plans to not set her alarm clock for a while, to read for pleasure, and travel with her husband, retired science teacher Kirk Schmaltz.

There is also much that she is going to miss about her time as a teacher. “I am really going to miss the kids. High school kids keep you young. I want to make sure I still feel that way once I get done teaching,” Schmaltz said. “I hear a lot of people say ‘oh I wouldn’t encourage students to go into teaching’ and that just breaks my heart honestly. It’s like any profession, it’s going to be frustrating at times. But when you take a step back and you look at it, it’s an awesome, awesome occupation.”