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Fresh Off Her Album, Teacher Hopes to Inspire Young Musicians

You never know where an interest in music can take you. Mill Creek Academy Music Teacher Kelly Dupuy Schmitt is proof of that and is hoping to provide encouragement to students who might need that first push.
Schmitt’s love of music took her to Canada, where she played trumpet in the Ceremonial Guard for six years. It took her to Nashville, where she recorded her first album, “Freight Train,” which was released this past spring. And as a teacher, it has taken her to Wisconsin, where she learned the guitar, started a family, and now a new school at Mill Creek.

“Freight Train” is Mill Creek Music Teacher Kelly Dupuy Schmitt’s first album.
For students who feel like music might not be their thing, Schmitt asks them a simple question: Do you like to listen to it?
“If you do, then there it is. It inspires you. I love that part of it. You can have your passion and you don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “You never know where it’ll go at the same time. There’s always this little edge of excitement about it. It’s such a great release. To be able to make and still be with the kids, it fills me up every day.”
From releasing and writing new music to being part of a new school, it’s been a busy time for Schmitt. The first school year at Mill Creek is only a few months in and has been overwhelming, but in a good way, she said.
“You feel a lot of responsibility that everything we start to build right now is basically the foundation for what’s going to happen in the years to come,” she said. “It’s definitely a humbling experience. We want to make sure we do everything right.”
Schmitt enjoyed her time playing in an ensemble in the military, but also wanted to have a family, so she opted to teach to allow her to stick with music. She grew into teaching but made sure to keep art as a priority, which she imparts to her students.
That determination eventually led to her first album. Through some freelance editing jobs, she met a producer, Terry Sweet, and after working with him, she worked up the courage to ask him to listen to songs she had written. After Sweet gave her some feedback, she worked for the next couple of years on the album before recording it in Nashville.

From writing and making connections to editing, lining up studio time, and mixing and mastering, Schmitt gained an appreciation for how much goes into making an album.

Kelly Dupuy Schmitt with Jeffery Taylor, a studio and touring artist.
“It’s been amazing. I never thought that I would have an album,” she said. “I’ve always written songs for my students and for myself for fun. It’s this never-ending process but it’s really cool.”
“Freight Train” is a faith-based account of Schmitt’s journey as a teacher and a professional who struggles with ADHD and learning challenges. She hopes the self-reflective journey will show others that they can overcome challenges and be successful.

Schmitt wants each Mill Creek student to develop a love for music and give them a place to express themselves. As she works on her second album, her recording experience also gives any aspiring songwriter someone they can tap into should they need help finding their voice.

“It’s opening the doors for a lot of stuff I didn’t think was possible, and I hope I can share that with my kids,” she said.
Keep up the excellent work, Mrs. Schmitt!

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About Mill Creek Academy
Mill Creek Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Waukesha, Wisconsin, serving students in all-day 4K through fifth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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