June’s Top Notch Teacher: Deb Schams

It says a lot when someone stays with a job- working at the same place for years and years. But what does it mean when someone holds the same job for 36 years? That means you’re family.

While not from the area, Deb Schams quickly fell in love with the region while studying at Viterbo University.

“I just love La Crosse. Going to college here I thought it was just a beautiful city and I could see myself staying here,” said Schams, a teacher with Aquinas Catholic Schools.

She was student teaching at Cathedral Elementary School when she was presented the opportunity to stay.

“The teacher I was under left and they offered me her job,” Schams said.

And so, this started her long career as a second and third-grade teacher at the school. Because of how long she’s taught in the Aquinas School System, it’s not uncommon for some of her former student’s own children to walk through her door.

“Last year in my class, I had seven students whose parents I taught as a second grader,” Schams said.

Elise’s mom had her as a teacher.

“My sister and my second cousin were taught by her too,” said Elise Myre, one of Scham’s students.

It’s a testament to her work.

“That I find very rewarding that the parents stick with our system and want their children here,” Schams said.

Unfortunately, this year is Mrs. Scham’s last year in the district, at least, for now.

“When I announced my retirement I had a parent say, ‘I have two more coming.’ And I said, ‘well, there will always be two more,'” Shams recalled.

It’s the reason why Anna is so sad to see her go.

“Cause my sister, I want my sister to have a chance for Mrs. Schams to teach her,” said Anna Binsfeld, the daughter of a former student.

She said while it will be hard to walk away from the school, she’s excited to spend some time with her own family and friends while reminiscing on fond memories from her days with her second family.