Gordon Schimmel

Gordon's reflections on CIE's 50th and the state of the nation - With our nation currently in what seems like an upside-down world in international relations, it is gratifying to look back at five decades of accomplishment with more than five hundred graduates from nearly 50 countries, dedicated to international education, understanding and economic development. I was privileged to be a part of the Center in 1968 as it was being organized and much of the credit for its success goes to a dedicated staff, talented students and, most of all, to David Evans for his persistent leadership as well as his enduring optimism.


In today's climate, an obvious understatement would acknowledge that we have much to accomplish to address world-wide income inequality, a prerequisite to achieving peace.  Although I am now retired for the second time, I plan to continue to advocate for a world-view that reaches beyond nationalism, doing what I can to promote acceptance of human diversity and acknowledgement of our global interdependence - imperatives if we are to preserve life as we know it on this planet.  Whatever it takes to keep the dream alive....   [12-18]


Previously Gordon reflected on retirement - Although I retired from the superintendent’s position and a career in public education four years ago, I am fortunate in having an opportunity to remain active as an education development consultant to the Academy of Model Aeronautics. The position enables me to help the Academy obtain grants from NASA and the Alcoa Foundation to create hands-on activities featuring simple model aircraft to teach standards-based science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills in public school classrooms. Before taking on the role of consultant, I chaired the Academy’s Education Committee for fourteen years and currently serve as Chair of its Scholarship Committee.


Working with the Academy has taken me to many exciting venues – as least for people who are as goofy as I am about aviation in all of its forms. For example, over the years I have had the opportunity to meet personal heroes like John Glenn and Scott Crossfield, and travel to places like Edwards Air Force Base where Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier. To mark my visit to the Dryden NASA Flight Research Center at Edwards, I got to “fly” first class in Engine 2 on one of the 747s used to transport space shuttles to Florida when they were forced to land in California. As a friend noted, “I know what a ten-pound Canada goose can do to one of those things – I can’t imagine the effect you would have on it!”


In addition to having great fun, providing me with lots of travel and a little “mad money,” the work has kept me active in the international arena with presentations in Scotland, Ireland and, most recently, Serbia. Currently, I serve First Vice President of the Education Commission for the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, which meets once a year in Lausanne, giving me an opportunity to learn how aerospace educators from other countries use aviation to inspire and motivate young people. In short, I have more work than I need at the moment, but it works better for me than other retirement pastimes such as fishing, golf or crossword puzzles.


I am most fortunate to have had an interesting career in public education that included international education through student and teacher exchange programs our school district arranged with Chile, the Ukraine, Thailand, Germany and China. I am grateful for the education and experience that the Center, the faculty and fellow students provided for me during those early years - some of which were actually quite fun! Merci, mille fois, aux Dwight, les deux Davids, George et tout le monde aux Centre d’Education Internationale! [6-12]



Email: wrightflight@gmail.com



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