Isanti kindergarten teacher wins $1,000 of school supplies

By Elizabeth Sias

Kindergarten teacher Barb Schmitz (back row, second from left) is surrounded by her students after a surprise visit from OfficeMax, which awarded the teacher with $1,000 worth of school supplies during the “A Day Made Better” event. Photos by Elizabeth Sias

When kindergarten teacher Barb Schmitz woke up Tuesday morning, Oct. 4, she never expected to receive a surprise visit in her classroom.

But that’s just what happened when local OfficeMax associates arrived at her classroom—along with $1,000 of school supplies.

“This is so wonderful and I really appreciate it,” a surprised Mrs. Schmitz said.

Mrs. Schmitz was one of 1,000 teachers selected nationwide as part of “A Day Made Better.” Founded by OfficeMax and Adopt-A-Classroom, A Day Made Better is an annual event that seeks to reward and recognize extraordinary teachers for their hard work in the classroom and encourage support for teachers across the country.

Kindergarten teacher Barb Schmitz won $1,000 in school supplies from OfficeMax. Standing, from left, Principal Mark Ziebarth and OfficeMax associates Ryan Stengel, Amber Rundhaug, assistant store manager Troy Berneking and associate Tom Oldroyd.

The teachers were nominated by their school principal for demonstrating passion, dedication and innovation in the classroom.

School For All Seasons Principal Mark Ziebarth said he nominated Mrs. Schmitz —who has been teaching for over 10 years—because she tends to buy the most supplies for her classroom with her own money.

“We thought this would be a nice way to hopefully pay her back a little bit for all the extra efforts she does and thank her for all her hard work with our kindergarten class,” he said.

At 10 a.m., OfficeMax associates from Cambridge came to School For All Seasons to surprise Mrs. Schmitz with an award certificate, a digital camera, a new desk chair and $1,000 worth of school supplies including crayons, markers, paper and much more.

“Kindergartners, you are my favorite class here at school,” Ziebarth said. “You guys have worked so hard this year and Mrs. Schmitz has done some great things with you so we’d like to recognize not only your great teacher but also you as students.”

Mrs. Schmitz smiled, speechless, while her kindergartners clapped and thanked the OfficeMax associates.

“OfficeMax has been doing this for about five years,” said Troy Berneking, Cambridge OfficeMax assistant store manager. “On average, teachers will spend around $1,000 of their own money, so with the budget issues, OfficeMax makes it important to donate to the school teacher and to help make their day better.”

After leaving Mrs. Schmitz’s classroom, OfficeMax presented an additional $400 worth of school supplies to Ziebarth for the whole school, donated by customers at the Cambridge store through a supply drive.