Landen Schmeichel, a history teacher at Legacy High School, is receiving national attention for unwavering dedication to his students and his job.
Schmeichel is originally from South Dakota but made his way to the Peace Garden State to pursue a career in education at Bismarck State College.
Although while in high school, he aspired to be a rancher — as there were certain subjects in school he was not a fan of — but one subject in particular always caught his interest.
“I didn’t necessarily enjoy reading, I didn’t necessarily enjoy writing. I always enjoyed history, and I enjoyed being around people, so I knew a job of that nature was probably in my future,” said Schmeichel.
He graduated from BSC in 2015 and then continued his education at Dickinson State University, graduating in 2017.
Fast forward to 2021, he received the James Madison Memorial Fellowship award but says at first, he was under the impression that the award did not go to him.
The award is sent via FedEx, and Schmeichel, who went home on his lunch break, did not find a package on his doorstep, but he said, “I went into my house, I was just gonna get a snack, maybe a little chocolate to soothe the woes of not receiving the fellowship. And I opened my screen door and out drops this fellowship package.”
He aims to build a relationship with his students and aims to motivate them, and also wants to learn with them.
But don’t just take our word for it. What do some of his students think?
Gryffen Sailer, one of his students, said, “Above all else, he cares about you rather than your grades. And it’s nice to have a teacher who cares about you as a person.”
Other students in his “AVID” Class, essentially a college prep class, say it’s pretty hard to stay quiet.
Another student, Chevi Erling, said, “Even if you try to force yourself out of the conversation, you’ll manage to get yourself pulled in some way or another, even if you don’t want to be in it.”
Students are also free to be themselves in Schmeichel’s classroom.
“Having him in my life opens up a whole new thing for me. And it just lets me be myself without feeling bad, said Quinlin LeBeau, another one of his students.
Schmeichel is excited to go to Washington, D.C. as part of this fellowship to study the constitution.
He says he’s especially grateful to receive the fellowship.
In addition to teaching, Schmeichel is an avid runner, and when not in the classroom, competes in marathons in Minneapolis, and most recently in Chicago.
He said his most recent marathon, in October 201, in the Windy City improved by 15 minutes.