- Ferguson-Florissant School District
Griffith Elementary Fourth Grade Teacher is the District's Teacher of the Year
Tracy Smith is congratulated on being selected the Teacher of the Year by district administrators.
Tracy Smith, a fourth-grade teacher at Griffith Elementary School, was pleasantly surprised when district administrators entered her classroom with balloons and flowers. The administrators’ visit was to inform Smith that she had been selected the Ferguson-Florissant School District’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Smith has been employed in the district for 15 years. In addition to being a classroom teacher, she is a vital member of Griffith’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) and a member of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) committee. Smith has also sponsored the school’s Boy Scouts, lead afterschool tutoring programs, facilitated food drives and can be seen at the beginning of the school year walking the neighborhoods surrounding Griffith, knocking on the doors of families to welcome students to the new school year.
Colleagues and former students are quick to praise her efforts. “Tracy utilizes every resource provided to make sure students are supported to achieve, just as the curriculum intended,” said Maddelyne Ligon, a fourth-grade teacher at Griffith who nominated Smith for the honor. “She makes it a priority to ensure that all teachers are supported in their understanding of the curriculum which allows for not only her students to be taught thoroughly but all students.”
Ligon went on to say that Smith has high expectations for her students and never accepts anything less than their best.
“Ms. Smith should be teacher of the year because she cares about how we learn and how we feel,” said Daryona Anderson, a former student of Smith’s. “If there was something that I didn’t understand, Ms. Smith would sit down with me, further explain things and provide a few problems for me to solve on my own. This always helped.”
Smith feels her greatest accomplishment is the ability to build a rapport that makes students feel comfortable taking risks, thinking critically, sharing their thinking with others and increasing their knowledge.
“My students know that they have a teacher who genuinely cares about the people they are and who they can grow to become,” she said. “Despite the curriculum or the research-based strategies of instruction, I believe a great teacher must know how to inspire students to learn.”
Smith has been inspiring learning since she was an elementary school student who requested extra worksheets from her teachers so that she could play school with her younger brother and sister.
“Education helps students to develop their perspective on the world around them and pushes them to think both creatively and conceptually about many different subjects. Without education, sensory information would simply be lost, says Smith. “Education allows us to process the information we receive on a daily basis, draw conclusions, and make inferences based on what we already know. Education equips students with the knowledge and confidence to make a difference in their own lives.”
Smith’s selection as the district’s teacher of the year qualifies her to be a candidate for the Missouri Teacher of the Year.