WYNOT — Jeff Messersmith was inspired by his inlaws to pursue a career in education.
He was leaning toward electrical engineering until he met Dale and Pat Sampy, teachers at Ansley Public Schools.
“When I met my wife, Teresa, we spent a weekend with her parents in Ansley,” Messersmith said. “Mom and Dad’s ability to help kids was always evident and I wanted to try to be as caring and positive as they always were with their coaching and teaching. (They) are great role models.”
Messersmith will retire as the Wynot superintendent at the end of this academic year. And throughout his career as a teacher, coach, and administrator he’s inspired many as well.
“I love teaching and coaching,” he said. “I believe I have the most direct impact on those students I supervise. As an administrator, I do help with the direction of the school district, but the impact isn’t as quickly noticeable.”
He was influenced by many different teachers growing up because his parents moved often. He was born in Scottsbluff but spent most of his school days in Colorado, graduating from Columbine High School in 1980. He lived with his football coach to finish out his senior year as his family moved to California.
After high school, Messersmith Joined the U.S. Marine Corps serving for six years, stationed in Japan, and serving as the noncommissioned officer in charge of night crew aircraft maintenance. After his military experience, he attended Kearney State College (now known as University of NebraskaKearney), meeting his wife and her family, and changing his career direction.
In 1991, he earned his bachelor’s degree in education with endorsements in Math and Computer Science.
During his career, he’s taught and coached at Lynch, Culbertson, Wood River, Winside and Wynot. At Wynot for the past seven years, he’s taught math and served as the principal and superintendent.
Messersmith said Wynot is special in that there’s an expectation for excellence from students, parents and faculty to the administration and School Board. He calls it the “Wynot Way.”
“I have been blessed to get to be a part of something that allows us to be proud of our accomplishments and humble Just the same,” he said.
Looking back on his work at the school, he recalls fondly the state championships in football and volleyball; the girls and boys basketball playoffs; state speech and one-act accomplishments; the construction of new classrooms, among others.
But the people he worked alongside are always at the forefront of his experiences at Wynot Public Schools.
“I was given the opportunity to work with great people who care deeply about their school and children and will do what it takes to give these children every chance to be the best they can be,” he said.
Even though he’s officially retiring as superintendent, Messersmith plans to keep making an impact as a consultant in technology and education.