Faculty Farewell: Mrs. Laurie Schroeder

“You know, you are always on as a teacher. You are continually running, helping, grading, interacting. Even at home.” Mrs. Schroeder awaits her upcoming retirement to start a new chapter with less running and more fishing.


“You know, you are always on as a teacher. You are continually running, helping, grading, interacting. Even at home.”  

Laurie Schroeder, Project Lead the Way teacher at Susan Clark Junior High, will miss her day-to-day “running,” especially alongside students, but will embrace her new chapter in life camping in her camper, fishing by water, and sitting in the sun during retirement. 

Laurie Schroeder has been teaching in some capacity for the past 26 years. But for the past 16 years, Laurie has dedicated her time to teaching junior high students in Muscatine at West Middle School (now Susan Clark Junior High). Her background is in both science and ELA, but she has found her passion in these past years in teaching STEM through Project Lead the Way

In fact, one of her most memorable teaching moments happened when teaching her first dissection. Mrs. Schroeder embraced the challenge of the unknown and actually enjoyed the scariness of the newness – something she wants to instill in her students – the ability to tackle tasks, even if they seem new, scary, or unknown. 

Mrs. Schroeder became a teacher a little later in life, after being a stay at home mom and focusing on her family (a time in which she will always cherish as a special time in her life). Because of this later start, her pathway into education required her to tackle the unknown while balancing a pretty full life schedule, which included raising a family, being active within the community, working, and going to school full time. 

Mrs. Schroeder reflected on this time and has been able to use this as a way to connect with students and to embody a teaching and learning philosophy. 

“How would you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” quoted Mrs. Schroeder. 

Students often feel overwhelmed by balancing their own lives with all of their school work. Mrs. Schroeder looks to support kids in this endeavor. 

“Start somewhere, start today, and just keep working on it.  You can finish it tomorrow, but don’t say “I can’t,” shared Mrs. Schroeder.  

Mrs. Schroeder knows though, that part of being a teacher is supporting students effectively when a task is hard or overwhelming. As her teaching philosophy had evolved and changed over the years, she made it a priority for her students to know that she cares, she is available for extra help, and she is willing to work alongside them and give some leeway as needed.  

Teaching an elective for the past decade has been beneficial for Mrs. Schroeder. Through an exploratory, Mrs. Schroeder has interacted with a wide variety of students and has seen a lot of her students shine in this setting that might not shine as bright elsewhere. She feels that through the hands-on approach that Project Lead the Way offers kids are more excited about what they are learning. 

As her career as an educator closes, Mrs. Schroeder will hold some of the simplest interactions as the most important.

She recalled with one of her tougher students, she had one of these interactions. After a field trip hearing a guest speaker, the student opened up and said to her, ‘Mrs. Schroeder, I love you,’ and that was all it took. Mrs. Schroeder used the opportunity to tell all of her students that she loved them, because she did. 

“The best thing about being a teacher is knowing that you can make a difference for a kid to actually change and do better for themselves and for other people [teachers] to notice it too.” 

A past student from her 7th grade Medical Detectives elective, Nova Hinnenkamp, MHS 9th grader, enjoyed the hands-on nature of the class and found themselves learning by doing, interacting, and problem solving. Nova also  appreciated Mrs. Schroeder for her balance of fun and work. 

“Mrs. Schroder was fun and funny, but if you get behind, she will make sure you get caught up,” said Nova. 

Example of what Mrs. Schroeder calls her “drippy shoes” that she wears on occasion to appease her students that convinced her she needed them.

Nova recalled memories of not just learning, but making memories with Mrs. Schroeder as well. Mrs. Schroeder incentivized working by having a quiet classroom environment, but giving free time when expectations were met. 

“We had freedom, but only with work done. One time Mrs. Schroeder even made a fun video with me and my friend that we all laughed about,” reminisced Nova.  

Mrs. Schroeder plans to continue to have fun and laugh through life, but now will do it in the peacefulness of nature, and not in the bustling nature of a school environment. 

“I am looking forward to nature and what it has to offer. I don’t even necessarily need to catch fish. I just love the opportunity to relax and enjoy. I love that,” shared Mrs. Schroeder.