Jan Schnorr grew up in Clintonville, Wisconsin, where she learned to fly fish from her father in the small streams of central and northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She became a physical education teacher but soon changed to be a special education teacher when she worked with children who had learning problems. Her desire to help individuals learn prompted her to continue her own education which included completing her doctorate in special education at the University of Arizona and teaching at Northern Arizona University and the University of Alaska Anchorage over a period of twenty-five years including several years of administrative leadership as a Dean and Director. During this time period, Jan enjoyed fly fishing throughout the western states and Alaska and then moved to Anchorage in 1991 to be closer to some better fishing opportunities.
Upon her arrival in Anchorage, she joined the Alaska Fly Fishers and served on the board of directors for ten years through 2014 and chaired numerous activities including the 2016 Matanuska Lake Stabilization Project, the Fishing Buddies Program, the annual Tangle Lakes Solstice trip, and many other activities that reached out to the community and supported individuals who wanted to learn how to fly fish. In addition, she has coordinated an annual fly fishing retreat for women cancer survivors for Casting for Recovery and Women Listen, a local non-profit in Anchorage for many years. When the club started the Project Healing Waters program in 2010, Jan volunteered for it and the following year, she and Damond Blankenship assumed the role of Co-Leaders and have been jointly working together ever since. Damond is a full-time guide on the Kenai River so he is not available during the summer months. In addition, Jan served as the Co-Chair of the Content Committee for the 2016 National Program Rendezvous and serves as a Program Lead on the Field Advisory Counsel.
Although Jan has no military experience, she brings some unique skills that compliment the program. Her background in special education enables her to better understand the challenges, which disabled veterans experience and how to facilitate their learning and recovery. In addition, she demonstrates her administrative skills by being the guiding planning force behind the Anchorage program.
PHWFF seemed like the perfect fit for Jan. It combines the desire to “pay it forward” by teaching a joy-filled lifetime activity to those who have been of service to our country as they truly benefit and appreciate the social connections that help to heal physical and emotional wounds. Jan currently serves as the Regional Coordinator for the state of Alaska.