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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Teacher from St. Paul who taught school in Burnsville, among three who died in plane crash near Duluth

Eight years ago, Alyssa Schmidt, 32, of St. Paul, taught second grade at Burnsville’s Echo Park Elementary School of Leadership, Engineering, and Technology. Just one year younger than she was, Matthew Schmidt, a former retail shop manager in Burnsville.

The two departed from Duluth International Airport on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. in a four-seat Cessna that was being flown by 32-year-old Tyler Fretland, also of Burnsville. The control tower called the Hermantown Police Department after the little jet went less than two miles south before it vanished from airport radar.

The worst had transpired by that point. Authorities in Hermantown discovered that the Cessna 172 had struck the second story of a home on Arrowhead Road before coming to rest in the home’s backyard. The three people on board the plane perished, but the homeowners were unharmed.

Joe Wicklund, a spokesman for the Hermantown Police Department and the city of Hermantown, which borders Duluth to the west, said that the object was only in the air for a few minutes.

NTSB investigators were at the scene Monday inspecting the debris to find out more about the reason of the collision, according to Wicklund. On Monday, the bulk of the aircraft was taken apart.

They have been working on the project all day and will keep doing so until they have everything they require, according to Wicklund.

According to Matthew Schmidt’s online résumé at LinkedIn.com, he earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Winona State University. After working at Menards and Mills Fleet Farm in sales and retail roles for at least seven years, he most recently held the position of assistant manager at Walgreens, where he oversaw 10 to 15 workers.

Fretland earned his undergraduate degree in sociology from North Dakota State University and has been a commercial pilot since July 2021. He has eight years of experience working for Delta Airlines as a luggage handler, airport support technician, and crew member hauling aircraft. He listed himself as a licensed flying instructor with Air Trek North in South St. Paul on his Facebook profile.

Alyssa Schmidt had been employed by Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District 196 since October 2014, according to Tony Taschner, a spokesman for the organization. Prior to 2020, she taught kindergarten for a number of years. In 2020, she switched to teaching third grade. This year, she was a second-grade teacher.

In the statement, Taschner added, “We are very heartbroken at the tragic loss of three lives, including an extraordinarily bright young teacher who positively influenced kids every day.” The emphasis of District 196 and the Echo Park school community is on helping the faculty, students, and families cope with this unexpected and sad loss. Logan Schultz, the school’s principal, praised Alyssa for the way she led and taught with compassion.

Alyssa Schmidt was remembered on Facebook by a childhood friend, pediatric nurse Danielle Fraser, as having “an amazing heart of gold” and greeting her peers with “the greatest grin and open arms.”

“It is evident that Alyssa continues to be a light of optimism,” Fraser said in a letter to his former students. “In interacting with old friends today, those who have known her for decades and those who met her via teaching.”

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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