Fatima Schmidt, Teacher from UFT
* PS 333, the Bronx
“Her generosity knew no bounds.”
That’s how Chapter Leader Stephanie Sangosse summed up Fatima Schmidt, a 4th-grade teacher at PS 333 in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx.
Fatima would buy dresses, shoes, ribbons and bow ties for students in the school’s ballroom dancing competition and pumpkins for each student in the school to decorate. And, added Sangosse, she enjoyed decorating her own pumpkin just as much as the students did!
Fatima was a UFT member for 18 years, 12 of them in her current school building. She died on April 13 at age 57.
Fatima worked well beyond school hours to ensure her students had the very best education, volunteering to chaperone them on trips and working in after-school programs. She welcomed new students to the school. In particular, she took students who didn’t speak English under her wing and helped them flourish.
“She fought hard for her students, and that unmatched passion was at the center of who she was,” Sangosse said.
Fatima loved to collaborate with staff and was always willing to share and eager to support colleagues. Coworkers felt free to talk to her about issues in their classrooms or their personal lives. Illustrating the bonds that Fatima formed with people, former coworkers kept in touch with her for years.
“Her empathy and kindness stood out and touched all who knew her, whether it was for a few weeks or for years,” Sangosse said.
A wonderful cook, Fatima shared Dominican specialties, including habichuelas con dulce, with her PS 333 colleagues.
In her free time, Fatima loved traveling as well as hosting cookouts and barbecues with her family. She enjoyed sewing and crocheting quilts. She was renowned for putting together amazing gift baskets for special occasions.
Fatima is survived by her husband John, daughter Karin and son Johann; her sisters Marisol, Joanny, Maria and Yisell, her brother-in-law Victor and sister-in-law Maria; her nephews Jael and Nikki and nieces Victoria and Sophia; her parents Victor and Maria; and her grandmother Lidia.
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