A Bientôt Madame Schultz

Madame Schultz in front of the Mediterranean Sea in Nice in 2016 during a GATEway summer.

Photograph by G Turf

Madame Schultz in front of the Mediterranean Sea in Nice in 2016 during a GATEway summer.

When you pass one of your teachers in the hallway, the last thing you probably think of is how they have shaped you, but, in reality, every teacher has the power to do so. With a history that has impacted faculty and students alike, Madame Sorela Schultz will leave behind an incredible legacy as she will not be returning to Miami Country Day School next fall. After having worked for 19 years as a teacher at MCDS, it is time to say, “A bientôt, Madame Schultz.”

She describes it as “partial temporary retirement.” She looks at it as “a break to spend a little bit more time with family… as well as to give myself a little bit of time to make some decisions regarding the next stage in my life and career.” Although Schultz will not be returning as a full time French teacher, she will not be fully retiring from teaching because she cannot get herself to stay away from the profession for a long  time.

Nicole Lovera, a senior at Miami Country Day School, was a student of hers in grades 6 through 9.  Nicole not only sees Schultz as a teacher, but also as a maternal figure. “She reminds me a little bit of my mom in the sense that they’re both very strong women […] Madame Schultz was always there to help me no matter what and she was

Photograph by K Colon
Madame with her 2017-2018 AP French Students

always the teacher that I could look to for help.”

Tania Vargas, Head of the World Language Department, speaks of contributions Schultz has made to the school and her department. “Well, she has contributed a lot because she’s been an upstanding member of our department.” She maintains that Madame’s “constant and relentless efforts to sustain our program” are why many people “speak so highly of our language department.” She has helped increase the numbers of students who choose French as their world language. When the rates of students choosing French began to decline at other schools, she made sure the French department remained interactive and interesting for the students at Miami Country Day, in order to continue to encourage them to learn French. When Ms. Vargas first met Madame, she tells the story of how welcoming and polite she was. “She had a very kind approach and that’s always very reassuring when you’re meeting somebody for the first time.” Vargas hopes that the school will not change a lot when Madame leaves, in order to show that Madame’s changes and improvements to the school were not made in vain. Vargas and the entire school community will always hold a special place for the work Schultz has done.

When first meeting her colleagues, Madame was very quick to forge relationships with them, conceding:  “I think they are very passionate about their profession and doing their best every single day.” She has gotten to know all of the faculty at the school and says they have made her experience as a teacher that much more memorable.

When broadcasting and journalism teacher Karen Davis started here six years ago, Madame’s son Julian was in her class.  “After many years in television, it was my first semester in the classroom,” said Davis ” and my methods were not yet proven! I needed some help.” The two got to know each other and would become colleagues who could count on and respect each other under all kinds of circumstances. Davis says that “she is so elegant. There is a European essence about her. The way she stands, tall and straight, almost like a ballerina, is something to aspire to.” Madame Schultz has been teaching Ms. Davis’ son since he was in middle school, so there is a circular pattern to their friendship, based on being moms and teachers here.

As teachers come and go, some teachers’ legacies last a lifetime. It is thanks to her “persistent” and “poised” personality that many students have enjoyed French over the years. “I’m here for the students and I absolutely adore every single one of them. I never forget that it’s a privilege to get to know and to work with young people and to help form them.”

Madame: you will be missed.