Thank you so much for taking the time to share how your faith is at work out in the community. To begin with, how long have you been a follower of Christ?
Shannon: I became a Christian at the young age of nine. My second grade Sunday School teacher was such an amazing woman and taught us about God’s love at a young age. I knew I wanted to know him and have “Jesus in my heart” forever…
As Christians, our primary purpose in life is to glorify God. In what ways are you able to glorify Him in your occupation?
Shannon: Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord”. Each morning during my devotional time I ask God to lead my steps and for all I do to glorify who he is and what I am as an educator. My joy in the work comes from seeing others blessed by our efforts and that the students feel compassion and support from all.
For most of us, family plays an important role in our lives. In what ways has your family been instrumental in your faith journey?
Shannon: My husband and amazing daughter have been supportive during the past eight years while I have been a principal. They have helped paint buildings, decorate bulletin boards, cleaned up, sacrificed “mommy” being home late on occasion, and listened to school celebration stories or prayed with me about situations with students or school families. Being a principal’s husband is not for the “weak” if you ask Tim. Sara Payton used to think it was “cool” that her mama “owned the school” as a younger student. Now, she often reminds me I am mama at home and not a principal!
For Christians who struggle to live their faith beyond the church walls, what encouragement would you give them?
I often see my work in a school as my “full time mission field”. God led me to the field of education and through the past 27 years has led my steps each and every day. Making decisions with God’s words on my heart is important to me. I live with the expectation that God is USING me daily to share and show his love to others – staff and students. I pray daily and OFTEN during the day! My school is filled with many faithful followers of Christ. They pray for our school family daily, support each other during times of need, and are always the first to support Halcyon’s school wide service projects.
What are some tools of the Christian faith that keep you focused on loving God and loving others?
Shannon: Knowing that I am forgiven when I fall short, knowing God’s grace is sufficient all the time, and knowing that God’s love is unconditional regardless of anything that I do.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Shannon: Celebrating successes and the joy of learning with students and simply getting to work with a fabulous staff who are dedicated to student success.
How does your Christian faith shape the way you approach your job?
Shannon: As a Christian, I believe that I must be diligent in my work efforts and understand that the decisions made will affect the futures of students. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead as an administrator. I know that I must extend grace, compassion, forgiveness, and patience each day. As an administrator, I must be loyal to those I work with and walk in truth and wisdom.
The Scriptures say that if we want to bear fruit we must remain in Christ. What are specific things you do to remain in Christ?
Shannon: Pray daily, reflect, journal, attend church and small groups, and reach out to other women in my life to learn from their wisdom. Mrs. Felicia Crawford and Mrs. Jennifer Murphy are both educators at Halcyon. God placed these women in my life to support and love me as I make decisions as an educator and to grow as a wife and mother.
Shannon is married to Ret. Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Schmidt. They are the parents of Sara Payton, an 8th grader at Prattville Christian Academy. When Shannon is not at school, you can find her watching her daughter play softball, playing with her dogs, shopping, binge watching Netflix, and getting away with family whenever possible. Shannon and her family reside in Millbrook, Alabama and attend Church of the Highlands.