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Revered School District Administrator Is Baker Acted Outside Government Services Building

| November 17, 2016

The scene on East Moody Boulevard Wednesday afternoon. (© FlaglerLive)

The scene on East Moody Boulevard Wednesday afternoon. (© FlaglerLive)

Hearts are breaking at school district offices at the Government Services Building in the wake of an unsettling incident Wednesday afternoon involving one of the district’s most admired and prized administrators.

Shawn Schmidli, the 35-year-old director of assessments–a key position that coordinates the district’s incessant and ever-changing cocktail of standardized tests–was Baker Acted on Moody Boulevard outside the Government Services Building after running down the street unclothed and speaking incoherently, according to a sheriff’s incident report.

Schmidli was not working Wednesday but had been at a Thanksgiving holiday celebration organized at the district offices. What happened to trigger the incident, just after 3 p.m., is unclear. Sheriff’s and rescue units were dispatched to the building in response to a call about an employee acting “irrational,” according to the report.

On his way there, a deputy observed a county ambulance in the eastbound, right lane of State Road 100, just east of the courthouse, traveling slowly with its emergency lights activated. Schmidli was running east on the sidewalk, “weaving back and forth.” He ran faster when the cop pulled up next to him and asked him to stop. There was a brief pursuit before the cop caught up to him on foot and took him to the ground on the grassy shoulder, detaining him. He was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler and subsequently Baker Acted, that is, confined to a psychiatric unit for evaluation for up to three days. It is a distressing intervention but not an uncommon or unfamiliar one to many families who’ve had a loved one Baker Acted at one time or another, only to see him or her fully recovered.

Superintendent Jacob Oliva today called Schmidli among “the best of the best,” and “an outstanding employee, highly valued and even revered statewide.”

It’s not an exaggeration: his rise to the central office after teaching biology at Matanzas High School was itself unusual, for someone barely 30, and spoke to his talents. Schmidli, who’s been in charge of the district’s assessments for six years, in March 2015 was able to anticipate technological problems with testing that other districts did not. His anticipation helped Flagler avoid disruptions caused by unresolved glitches in the testing system.

Schmidli has also been uniquely qualified to routinely translate into lucid language for the school board the evolving arcana of the state’s byzantine testing system, its annual transformations and its bewildering formulas.

Schmidli is known for his command of the facts and a steadying demeanor that dates back to his years on the Matanzas High School faculty, where he was among the most popular teachers: his accumulation of five-out-of-five stars and testimonies from his students on sites such as Rate My Teachers tell the story: “His students love him and he make the learning process enjoyable.” “Best class ever, he is amazing!” “Amazing teacher can’t get any better than him!” “Great teacher, explains things fantasticly [sic.], but his classes are for those who will actually try to do great in them. Awesome teacher.” “Awesome teacher, I wish I could’ve taken him for all my sciences. Very funny and makes Biology easy to understand.”

The same evaluations have applied to his handling of his administrative responsibilities.

Colleen Conklin, who chairs the school board, says he’s been “an exemplary employee” who always “goes above and beyond in everything he does.”

Oliva said Schmidli is “part of our family,” still very much employed with the district but on personal leave.

Late Friday evening, Schmidli’s family issued a statement through the school district that read in part: “A few days ago my brother suffered a medical episode that could have happened to anyone.  This was NOT a drug or alcohol related event. His condition was caused by a bacterial infection. Thanks to the prompt response by the medical staff with treatment, we are looking forward to a speedy recovery.” Schmidli’s brother is not named in the statement. He also thanked the community’s love and support. “Shawn is blessed and fortunate to live and work in a community that loves and supports him as much as we do. “

28 Responses for “Revered School District Administrator Is Baker Acted Outside Government Services Building”

  1. lena marshall says:

    We love him, best guy around! God will protect you.

  2. Mary Ellen Moire says:

    Not sure why Flagler Live continually publishes very personal information when running these stories. A story recently ran about a friend and neighbor of mine and sadly Flagler Live printed information the public did not need to know – very personal information.

    Now everyone knows about this man’s business. No one needs to know all that you printed. Even if he is a school official – the school administration may need to know, but not everyone else.

    Shame on you for always printing intimate details of peoples lives.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      This was a public incident on a public roadway involving a public employee and a number of county services, in a mental-health situation that warrants neither closeting nor judgments. The fact that it involved a well-known administrator doesn’t make it less newsworthy, but more so. While we won’t presume to decide what you “need to know,” we won’t sanitize or cover-up the news either. We didn’t do it when it involved one of our own writers in a much more private matter, which we could have simply ignored. We won’t do it when it involves public employees in more public matters. Our unbound admiration and respect for both men involved in those situations has no—and must not have any—bearing on what and how we report. You raised a fair point and we’re addressing it. But this thread won’t be turned over to a further discussion on the matter.

  3. Rob says:

    Praying for Shawn in this difficult time for him. Praying for healing and strength for him and his family.

  4. Ashley Davies says:

    My favorite teacher ever !! Such an amazing man and teacher. God has your back !! we all love you, stay strong!!

  5. I/M/O says:

    Recognizing when an employee is calling out for help is a vital part of being an Administrator and a member of the School Board.

    From reading this story it is so blatantly obvious that Mr. Schmaldi was “Calling out for help.” Great job by all concerned. So often people don’t recognize illness when they see it and simply walk away or tell the person to “Buck up” which can lead to a major tragedy. That did not happen here. Apparently everyone involved did the right thing.

    Also reading the story our District Superintendent and the School Board are going to now get him the help he needs.

    That is how to read this story. Thank God there were people there that recognized that they were dealing with an illness and not a news story.

  6. Tanya Zak says:

    Anyone who truly knows Shawn knows he has a heart of gold. Since the day I met him he was all about his career and what he can do for his students. He is a man that has always thought of the wellbeing of all our youth not just at Matanzas where he was a teacher. No one knows what cause this breakdown so please just keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Love and peace and prayers.

  7. former student says:

    great man, with unabashed ethics. and hes human like all of us.

  8. Larry Tanenbaum says:

    My daughter loved Shawn when she had him for AP Biology, and I’ve known him for years. Always very upbeat, knowledgable and professional. I hope you all give him a chance to heal and move on…

  9. palmcoaster says:

    My appreciation to Flaglerlive for keeping us informed!!
    Some think that depending who becomes news should be published or not….that is called “Censorship” and sorry but not accepted in our USA at least until January 19, 2017, after that day I don’t know, unfortunately.
    I hope this beloved educator recovers soon from his illness.

  10. no says:

    This is not private info. Thank you FlaglerLive for this piece. Interesting how the comments are nice to him. If he were a different color and worked somewhere else I wonder what would be said.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Brian Disorders and Mental health/Neurological issues can strike anyone, at any time. My thoughts go out to all who care about this man. I hope he will get the help he needs. It sounds like there are many willing to help him in his recovery.

  12. Rachel says:

    An upstanding, hardworking professional who’s clearly going through something difficult right now, of which we know nothing about. I was saddened to see the picture that accompanied the article, where’s the decency and compassion for a man who has dedicated his time and talent for so many years to the students and teachers of our community? All of us who know him and have worked with him know his true character and stand behind him, we’re pulling for you Shawn!!

  13. liberal says:

    Very Newsworthy. And thankfully not covered up or censored. People have a right to know.

  14. anonymus says:

    So sad. Sending prayers to him & his family. He taught my children at Matanzas High School & he is an amazing man!!

  15. Resident says:

    Bravo, a great job standing behind your administrators Flagler County Schools, if only you stood behind your school personnel in the same manner. It would be a major accomplishment if you were able to truthfully portray yourselves as a compassionate and sincere employer, which is a characteristic that you are severely lacking.

  16. PeachesMcGee says:

    Ms. Moire, all the information posted is public information. Anyone can read this on many websites, including Flagler Live.

    Just like your Facebook profile shows where you work (VA of NE), and where you went to high school (FCHS).

    This is the digital age. Get used to it cupcake.

  17. memefourandcounting says:

    I am so sad for Shawn that this was publicized this way. He is an amazing person and is admired not only by his former students but by all the Flagler County Schools Family!! I guess PHI, HIPAA, & confidentiality don’t apply to the press. Stay strong Shawn.

  18. RickG says:

    Thanks to Flagler Live for being true to the journalistic aspect of this story. This seems to be a very tragic incident indeed. Hoping that Mr Schmidli gets better and back to work.

  19. Chris says:

    Praying doesn’t help. Recognizing that somebody needs mental health services does.

  20. C says:

    A really bad day for a really great person. So sad it has to be publicly announced like this. It makes sense that it’s public information, but makes it so much worse for somebody in such a hard situation. You are awesome and everybody breaks sometimes! Keep your head up.

  21. I/M/O says:

    Just heard Mr. Schmidli is going to be fine. He suffered an very serious adverse reaction to antibiotic medication he was on for an acute Sepsis infection. (Infection that enters one’s bloodstream) A Medical Doctor would call this “Sepsis Shock” where one becomes completely disoriented due to their acute medical condition. Sepsis Shock cause one to become dehydrated and the blood pressure to fall dangerous levels causing a person to become disoriented. A Sepsis infection can be life threatening.

    So let us all thank God the Doctors quickly figured this out.

    This was simply a very serious medical episode. So for the “Car Crash Gawkers” you can move on there is no scandal here.

    Get Well Quickly Mr. Schmidli. The entire community is so very happy you will now be fine.

  22. c;s says:

    Hopefully the bacterial infection he suffered will not have lasting consequences for him!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I am relieved to hear that this man will be OK. By the way, it might be a good idea for him to wear a medic alert bracelet warning about an allergy to whatever antibiotic he was taking during the episode.

  24. NortonSmitty says:

    The pressure and frustration that must come from trying to conscientiously teach children in the micro-managed, understaffed and underfunded partisan petri-dishes our schools have become today must be enough to test the patience of a Saint. The more you care, the more difficult it must be to navigate a system that seems to be set up to fail to make political points and Big Moola for corrupt parasitic Charter Schools..
    I don’t know how you dedicated Teachers do it. Any ordinary person would crack at the strain before long. I myself would probably shove an Unabridged Oxford Dictionary up some bureaucrats ass before lunch my first day. .
    So if you can read this Mr. Schmidt, hang in there. It seems you are well loved by the entire community. This will pass, and you are obviously a person who cares. And will be no matter where you go from here. Sounds like the everybody who ever met you wants you to stay where you are. That is special. Good Luck.

  25. MDL says:

    This is not from an adverse reaction from anything. Do some research, antibiotics will not cause this sort of reaction. They are using this as a way to cover up for one of their own. If this were a teacher, coach, janitor, or anyone else not in the GSB clique that did this they would not be getting them help, they would be firing them and that would be the end of it.

  26. 20 something F PC says:

    Glad to hear that he will be doing okay. With a child in the Flagler County School system, it is always reassuring to hear that some teachers still give a $h!t about their students and can make the classroom fun. Not going to lie when I first read the article I was a little concerned about this man’s mental health but the later comments made me realize yet again that a story isn’t really a story until it goes full circle. Never judge something prematurely. GET WELL SOON and know that some parents with younger children look forward to having someone like you teach our kids in the future.

  27. Resident says:

    Couldn’t agree more with MDL. As far as everyone else, if you read the article you would be informed that he is currently not a teacher. He DOES NOT work with our students here in the county anymore. He is an employee in our Flagler County Schools main office and the meds can not possibly be fully responsible for thst reaction.

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