A Long Road to Lakeland

Schaffer Brings Real-World Experiences to LHS


Sophia Meritano, News Writer

When Ms. Schaffer was a child, she wanted to become a veterinarian to do things like helping animals in their rehabilitation, and taking care of their health,

But her life brought her in a different direction, and who knows if that little child could ever imagine that today she is the new biology teacher at Lakeland High School.

This is not her first-time teaching, if we count the 10 weeks last spring in Lake City, but Ms. Schaffer prefers this school. Probably because the little school district of Rathdrum reminds her of her high school back in a small town in New Mexico.

 After graduation, she got a full scholarship to New Mexico State University where she started studying biology. But then, after a while, she had to leave to go to Colorado, so she dropped her scholarship and moved to Colorado where she got her undergraduate degree in environmental biology.

 “After my degree, I did some really good stuff” Ms. Schaffer said.

And with this short sentence, she meant that she went to South Africa for a period to work in the field in contact with nature and its systems.

 For the first four weeks she was a vet assistant in a monkey foundation where they helped monkeys that needed rehabilitation. I got to play with the baby monkeys too, and it was really fun.” Schaffer said.

The next four weeks, instead, she was at a private game resort doing research for the biologists there, this included venturing into nature and observing lions and other wildlife.

 Then she came back to America, and she tried to pursue a career in wildlife first, and in healthcare after, but those jobs didn’t fulfill her passions. Therefore, she decided to go back to school and get her degree in education to teach biology at the high school level.

 It wasn’t a fast decision; it took a long time to realize that she wanted to teach. “My mom and a friend planted the seed five or six years ago and it took another four years of sitting on it before I actually made my choice.”

 Now, she couldn’t be happier to finally do that. She loves seeing the students interested in the subject, asking questions, and getting involved. Some of the questions she can’t answer, and she encourages the students to look that up on their own.

 “The world of science is difficult because it’s a new way of thinking, so not many kids like it; but my job is exactly trying to transmit my passion and the beauty of the subject to them.” Schaffer said.

Mr. Hoffman is sure about the great talent of Mrs. Schaffer. 

“With her huge knowledge in her content area, biology, she has all that needs to be a fantastic teacher,” he said. 

Her story is simply inspirational, and she likes to leave her students a beautiful message: “I encourage students to explore, go around the world and try something different. Be curious. You are never too old to stop learning, and if you don’t know something just look it up!”