Kathie Schumpert: First in Class

Kathie Schumpert has been a fixture in the Lower School for 27 years. She has lovingly shepherded countless students through first grade, cheered their success in subsequent grades, and proudly marveled at their journeys beyond our gates. This spring marks the end of an era as she looks toward retirement and life outside the classroom.
Kathie has had a front row seat from which to witness the magic and wonder of the Hammond experience. Both of her children, Erin and Collin, are 13-year Skyhawks and started their own Hammond journeys in kindergarten. “Being a Hammond parent, I have a real appreciation for how well the school prepared my own children for life after Hammond. I’ve made life-long friendships with teachers here and have enjoyed watching students grow and learn. I especially love having former students drop by for hugs and visits. The journey has been remarkable.”
In thinking about the ways Hammond has evolved during her tenure, Kathie is quick to point to technology as one of the many ways Hammond has changed. “In 1995, we had green chalkboards and white chalk. Chalkboards have been eclipsed by whiteboards and smartboards, and even our youngest students are proficient iPad users,” she notes. The addition of student uniforms is another change Kathie feels has made an impact on students, while hopefully making life easier for parents. Throughout the changes, she feels the essence of Hammond has remained the same, and that the family atmosphere has been a mainstay of the Hammond experience along with the care and concern shown for students and teachers.
When asked about her most memorable Hammond experiences, she counts graduation and class productions among her favorites. “Listening to former students share their college plans is a real joy. Other favorites include first grade programs­–Fairy Tale Follies in September and Westward Ho in May. It’s amazing to see the growth and maturity of students in those few short months.” 
Perhaps one of the most humorous experiences over the course of her years at Hammond involved the playground and words of wisdom from a first-grade boy. “One of my boys was having a hard time at recess finding a playmate and deciding which game to play. He was sitting on my lap and we discussed how to handle recess that day. We were having a good talk (or so I thought) when he looked down at my lap and said, ‘Mrs. Schumpert, I think you’ve put on a few.’ With that, I said, ‘Okay…I think you can go play.’ That encounter still makes me laugh.”
As Kathie officially graduates from Hammond, we bid a fond farewell and send best wishes for the next leg of her own journey. On behalf of the countless Skyhawks who have benefitted from her teaching, the parents who have relied on her wise counsel, and the faculty and staff who have enjoyed her camaraderie, thank you, Kathie. Once a Skyhawk, always a Skyhawk.