Michael Smits Brings Experience, Enthusiasm to Chemistry Classrooms


Nick Bumgardner, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

From the college lab to the high school classroom, Mr. Michael Smits, NDA’s newest addition to the science department, looks to make a splash in 2020.

Following the departure of Ms. Kim Flinchum to work full time at the business she owns, he will be teaching five sections of chemistry.

A native of Allouez, Smits attended Catholic grade school at St. Matthew’s School and continued his education at Green Bay East High School and both UW-Madison and Lawrence University..

“His experience in the chemical industry and deep knowledge of chemistry will help make the connection between the [text] book and real life, especially for students who are considering a life in the sciences,” explained Principal Patrick Browne.

Before taking the job at NDA, Smits spent seven years at Marian University in Fond du Lac, where he taught chemistry, and picked up a semester’s worth of chemistry classes at Waupaca High School this past spring.

Smits works hard to connect with students and develop important skills within them. 

“I enjoy the banter back and forth with students before and after class.  Although it’s been a few years since I’ve been in school, I try to never forget what it was like to sit on the other side of the desk,” he said.

As for inspiration, Smits is hardly lacking.

“The biggest influence was my father who was a mathematics teacher.  Also, my Ph.D. thesis adviser was very influential,” explained Smits.

With the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, all teachers are finding ways to adapt to the “new normal” and provide the best education possible in these trying times.

For Smits, the focus has always been on the students.

“[I’m most looking forward] to finding the best way to make the educational experience meaningful and interesting for the students when they are online,” he said. 

Going into the 2020 school year, Smits looks forward to educating his “very disciplined and well-behaved students who seem very eager to learn new things.”