Dr. Schneider tapped as SODA council member

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A passion for lifelong learning and self education is just a hint of what Belen physician, Dr. David Schneider can bring to the School of Dreams Academy Governing Council.

Dr. David Schneider: New SODA member

Schneider was sworn in as the newest member on Feb. 5.

“I have known Dr. Schneider for two years, and it’s been very positive, because of his commitment to this community,” said Kenneth Griego, president of the SODA Governing Council. “He loves children and has his priorities set. He knows what he wants to do, and he’s willing to get out there and do the right thing for the people.”

Schneider interviewed for the post earlier this month, and said he was drawn to serve on the council because of the school’s impressive academic turn around of children, who were struggling elsewhere, and also because of the thriving robotics program.

A girl he knew through his medical practice had not been doing well in traditional school, but excelled once she transferred to SODA, particularly when she became involved in the robotics program, Schneider said.

“It was just a great thing for her,” Schneider said. “She was excited to be in school, she was applying herself and she was succeeding. She’s a brilliant girl, and it just matched.”

Being a physician is similar to being a teacher, he said, because as a physician he also teaches.

He uses visual, auditory and other methods of teaching to convey knowledge so his patients can make informed health care decisions. Teachers use various teaching methods to address children’s diverse learning styles.

“I care about kids, and this will be an opportunity for me to learn from people who have really cared about kids for a long time in their careers and in their personal lives,” he said, “and to learn what the reality is of educating children in 2012 in Valencia County.”

Years ago, as a supporter of former New Mexico Gov. Bruce King, Schneider heard King’s wife, Alice, say something that has stuck with him, “You can pay for children now or you can pay for them later.”

“Her reference was, you can pay for educational opportunities now, or you can pay for those children later in their teens or as adults in the penal system,” Schneider said.

Students who don’t fit in the traditional school setting and have nowhere to go often end up pregnant, using drugs, stealing or participating in other risky behaviors, he said. The School of Dreams Academy offers an exciting place for them to go, the Peralta resident said.

“Unfortunately, as a community, children are increasingly from broken homes,” he said. “Broken homes defined as single parent, domestic violence in their homes, drug or alcohol abuse, poverty, all of those things can have a profound influence on a child’s well-being, and if a child is not healthy, it makes it much harder to learn.”

As a physician, he also brings a medical perspective on symptoms and treatments for learning disabilities, such as autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity disorders and dyslexia to augment what the governing council might already know, he said.

“I like our community,” Schneider said. “I like the people, and I like the more-or-less rural setting which is similar to where I grew up in (rural) Iowa.”

Schneider came to Belen in 1997 to work for Dr. Ralph Brower after a School of Ministry trip to Uganda, and a year’s program of the School of Ministry at Calvary Chapel in Albuquerque, he said.

When Brower retired, Schneider took over the practice.

His wife, Christy, comes from a family of educators, and she is a certified teacher.

They have three children, Drew, Abby and Luke, who is a special needs child with Angelman’s Syndrome, Schneider said.

“I am looking forward to being of service to the community, and to the School of Dreams Academy,” he said.

Schneider’s swearing-in ceremony had a modern twist when an actual Bible couldn’t be found. His wife, Christy, held an iPad with a downloaded copy of the Bible as he took his oath of office, which was officiated by Magistrate Tina Garcia officiated.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.