But then he met a girl.
"I had thought about maybe living somewhere else for a while," he said. "But there wasn't really a plan to move to the U.S. That had everything to do with her."
And that chance meeting set him on the path to eventually become the next superintendent of Rockingham County Public Schools, effective July 1.
Scheikl, 50, will replace retiring Superintendent Carol Fenn, the first woman to serve as the division's top administrator. Fenn held the position for 10 years.
The division's director of information management, Scheikl has spent his professional career in the county, starting as a social studies teacher at Broadway High School in 1995 and moving to the division's central office five years later. He was awarded a $130,000 annual contract by the Rockingham County School Board in April when he was named superintendent.
Working Class Beginnings
Scheikl grew up in a "working-class neighborhood" in Salzburg, living in a German-speaking house with his mother and two brothers, an uncle and his family, and their grandparents.
His mother was a secretary, and his father a mechanic. His grandfather worked in a warehouse, and his grandmother was a custodian. Between them, his mother had the most education, having completed seventh grade.
"It was really unusual at the time for me to want to go further than that," he said. "There was not really any precedent for that."
Scheikl graduated from high school and entered the country's mandatory military service. Nine months later, he was ready for law school at the University of Salzburg.
Over the next five years, he balanced classes with traveling on a kayaking team to competitions around the world.
When he was 23, he was working as a whitewater rafting instructor and met his future wife, Marjorie, while she was on vacation.
The two started a relationship; he later scored a six-month training session with the U.S. Olympic Team in Bethesda, Md., about 30 minutes from Marjorie's home. During training, the couple got engaged.
They moved to Austria when his training was over; about a year and a half later, they decided to move back to the U.S.
The decision led Scheikl to change careers.
"Law is so different in the U.S. compared to Europe," he said. "It did not really make sense to finish law school, and one of my other passions was always social studies and teaching."
An Acquired Taste
Maybe not "always." Growing up, Scheikl wasn't interested in social studies, as he found it difficult to relate.
"Some of what still happens now ... purely memorization of dates and facts, kings and emperors and just memorizing timelines and events. Very little context. Very little relationship to my life," he said. "Working-class history, you didn't really learn about that in school because it was all about kings and emperors and big political events. It wasn't about people like me."
Before moving to the U.S., he started taking educational instruction classes.
One class he didn't need was English. He learned it throughout school, but gained fluency through his work as a rafting instructor.
Scheikl was accepted at James Madison University, which allowed the couple to be close to his wife's family in Winchester. His wife took a job as a nurse at then-Rockingham Memorial Hospital while he earned a degree in U.S. history with a minor in secondary education.
He graduated from JMU in December 1994 and was hired as a social studies teacher at BHS in spring 1995. While at the school, he started a soccer team in spring 1998.
He made the move to the central office in 2000 as administrative software implementation specialist, a long way of saying database administrator.
Scheikl was in charge of a new student information system and teaching school staff how to use it, and his responsibilities expanded as technology advanced.
In 2012, he added coach of the Spotswood High School girls soccer team to his responsibilities, a job he will give up as superintendent.
"That was probably the toughest part of that decision," Scheikl said. "You think through what changes would happen would happen in your life if you applied for that position and then were hired to be superintendent. I think that took me the longest to come to grips with. Am I really able to give up soccer? That was hard to think through that. ... If you were superintendent and tried to fit in soccer at the same time, I think both roles would suffer."
Scheikl said his role overseeing the division's digital conversion initiative combined his educational and technology backgrounds to find ways to improve the division.
"It's almost all about education and learning and how technology can assist learning and to individualize instruction to make it more creative, more relevant," he said.
It wasn't until Fenn announced in September that she would step down that Scheikl contemplated the top post.
"Being the superintendent was never really a career goal of mine. When I got my Ph.D. in educational leadership, I didn't go through the superintendent's cohort, which is kind of a prescribed program," he said. "The goal was to help an organization get better every day."
Scheikl wants to foster new ways of learning created and inspired by technology.
"That was really appealing to me to say what would that be like to actually be in that position and say what can we do to make Rockingham County the best Rockingham County it can be," he said. "We don't want to be Fairfax. We don't want to be Albemarle County. We want to be Rockingham County."
Although he has amicably split from the wife who brought him to the country, he has no plans to leave the area.
"I would never want to be superintendent anywhere else," he said. "This was about being in Rockingham County and saying, 'How innovative can we be here?'"