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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Employee of the Month - Schuch shares her love of learning at Gehlen Catholic

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lori Schuch, Gehlen Catholic School technology director, helps students and teachers use everything from computers to interactive whiteboards in classrooms. Schuch is the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Month.
Lori Schuch is always teaching at Gehlen Catholic School, but she is not a classroom teacher.

Schuch is Gehlen's technology director who spends much of her work day helping faculty, staff and administrators.

"I always say 'if something doesn't work, try restart,'" Schuch said. "Sometimes that fixes everything."

She maintains and updates the Le Mars school's computers as well as other technology including SMART Boards, iPads, mobile computer tablets and Gehlen's website.

SMART Boards replaced whiteboards in Gehlen classrooms to combine computers and a large interactive display area for students.

Schuch has played a pivotal role in ensuring Gehlen has kept pace with the advancement of technology, according to a letter nominating her as the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Employee of the Month.

"Mrs. Schuch put in countless hours, with the help of volunteers, replacing the typical whiteboards in each classroom and installing the SMART Boards," the nomination stated.

She received the Chamber employee honor during the student blessing for Catholic Schools Week last Friday.

"I was very surprised," Schuch said. "It was all kind of surreal, very nice."

She credits her natural curiosity for her ability to keep up with changes in technology at Gehlen.

"I love new things, I love learning new things," Schuch said.

She learns from other people and describes the Internet as a great resource.

"I try to send out information to the teachers -- resources that come across my desk or teach them something I've learned," she said.

Gehlen's teachers think she knows everything, but Schuch insists she doesn't.

"I really don't, but I am a resourceful person," she said.

There's been a great demand for her resourceful ways this year because teachers put their grades online, starting at third grade.

"Parents can access their children's grades daily," Schuch said.

The nomination for Schuch as Chamber employee of the month describes her as someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty with a positive attitude.

"Her cheerful demeanor and creativity leave every student inspired to try new strategies and techniques," the nomination letter stated.

When challenges arise, Mrs. Schuch comes to the rescue with her masterful problem-solving skills, the nomination also stated.

She said her days at Gehlen for the past nine years have never been the same.

"A printer gets jammed up and there's just lots of things that don't work -- a day never goes by where something doesn't work," Schuch said.

Some of her technology skills, which keep equipment and computer programs operating, are self-taught.

"If a computer isn't working, a lot of times I swap parts and I fix it," Schuch said. "I've learned a lot along the way just because I couldn't wait for a repairman to show up."

Schuch and her husband moved their family to Le Mars about 10 years ago when he accepted a job with Wells Enterprises.

The Schuchs left Illinois to be closer to South Dakota where they'd grown up and their families live.

Tom and Lori's sons, Joe, a freshman, and Adam, a 6th grader, both attend Gehlen.

"Just to know who my kids are growing up with -- that's great," Schuch said.

Schuch majored in business education in college and has worked in her career field for 25 years.

She's taught typing to junior high and high school students on a typewriter and also helped students master computers.

Schuch's love of the classroom continues today in a different way at Gehlen.

She said she is constantly walking in and out of classrooms to assist with technology so she becomes "a mouse in the corner" who is able to see what's happening with activities, discussions and the teaching styles.

"I love that and I love just helping," Schuch said.

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