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Schmidt recalls time with Madison Board of Education

Published 10:23pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MADISON – While serving on the Madison Board of Education, Phil Schmidt remembers a student in special education listening to a classmate’s report on Italy.

Excited about his peer’s report, the student said, “I can’t wait. This ought to be GOOD.”

Madison City Council will select a new board member on May 13.

Schmidt He grew up in Michigan, Ohio and Connecticut and attended the University of Michigan. He worked in television news in Ohio and Louisiana before moving to Huntsville in 1988 as WAFF-48′s science reporter.

“I left TV news in 1992, taking a job with a trash hauling and recycling company,” Schmidt said. In 2003, he returned to TV to make commercials. “My wife Julia sums up my career: ‘TV to trash, then back to TV.’”

Schmidt is general manager of Fantastic Plastic Entertainment Inc., which produces commercials, videos and scripts for broadcast, Internet and cable companies.

Urged by friends, he applied for Madison Board of Education and succeeded on his second application in 2008. Schmidt compiled fond memories while ‘on board’:

* Listening to English Language Learners (ELL) youngsters singing.

* Watching Bob Jones High School teachers mentor students for advanced-placement exams when schools were closed after 2011 tornadoes.

* Watching teams compete and attending concerts, art shows and plays.

* Seeing two successful rezonings in five years and construction of James Clemens High School.

Schmidt respects the success of Bob Jones senior Priya Ganatra, recipient of a full scholarship to Duke University. Ganatra has voiced students’ opinions as liaison with the superintendent’s advisory committee. “She will go far in life,” Schmidt said.

The Madison board “needs to keep turning over rocks … to shine a light on areas and … plan for real improvement.” He hopes all parents will allow their children to attend free tutoring.

The Schmidts sons are Max, an Auburn University sophomore; Skyler, James Clemens senior; and Raleigh, James Clemens freshman. Phil joined the board when the boys were in fourth, seventh and ninth grade. “Time has flown by,” he said.

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