Sonia Schmidt, clerk of Surry County Superior Court, was sworn in Thursday morning as assistant Clerk of Courts.
Teresa O’Dell, Surry County Clerk of Courts, administered the oath to Schmidt during a morning ceremony at the clerk’s office with the full staff present.
Harris’s husband, Greg Schmidt, was also present and held the Bible as his wife was sworn in.
“Sonia will be an asset,” O’Dell said. “She is very knowledgeable about the judicial process. She’s so smart, has great leadership skills; she’s approachable and detail oriented.”
The position is the last open to be filled since O’Dell took office last year.
“I’m excited,” said Schmidt, who said she loves her work. “It’s a challenge. Something new every day. You come into work you know there’s going to be a lot going on. It’s never boring, never routine.”
In addition to her responsibilities as clerk of Superior Court, Schmidt will be involved with supervising the criminal division and training new staffers.
“When I am not here the assistants take my place and have the authority to make decisions that are critical to this office,” O’Dell said.
The four other assistant clerks primarily handle civil concerns. Among them Dawn Hall, a part-time employee, covers the criminal division.
“There was a real need in this office,” O’Dell said.
Schmidt has been a deputy clerk since 2007.
“I honestly didn’t know anything about the Clerk of Courts except it’s where you go to get a passport,” she said. “I try to remember that when people come here. It’s usually not a pleasant experience, whether it’s a defendant or a victim. I try to walk them through the process.”
She started off part-time, entering infractions and has been clerk of Superior C0urt for nearly five years.
Schmidt, who will be moving to Dobson from Rockford, is looking forward to mentoring new employees.
“I remember how it felt,” she said. “After about six to eight months, it just clicks.”
Before she joined the clerk staff, Schmidt worked at Cross Creek Apparel, and was offered a severance package when the business began shutting down.
Leaving was hard, Schmidt recalled.
“I don’t want to do that again,” she said. “We’ve got a bunch of good people here in this office. It’s almost like a family. I look forward to many many more years.”
Terri Flagg can be reached at [email protected]