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EGUSD in the Spotlight
Florin High School math teacher named California Teacher of the Year; will represent California in national competition
Tim Smith, a math, Algebra I and AP statistics teacher at Florin High School in the Elk Grove Unified School District, has been selected as one of five recipients of the California Teacher of the Year 2014 award. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also selected Smith as California’s only representative in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Photo: Tim Smith, California Teacher of the Year, answers a student’s question.
“Being California State Teacher of the Year gives me the opportunity to tell the world about the dedicated educators in California,” Smith said. “It allows me to be a spokesperson for the successes in education, as well as our failures. I am excited to serve as an advocate for all students from all parts of California this year.”
In August 2013, Smith was selected as one of two Sacramento County Teachers of the Year. He was also selected as one of two EGUSD Teachers of the Year in May 2013. Donna McNeel, activities director and reading and social sciences teacher at Katherine L. Albiani Middle School, was also chosen as an EGUSD Teacher of the Year. Previously, Elk Grove Unified has had two teachers selected as California Teachers of the Year: Jean McDaniel (1983) and Vicky Vigario (1995).
Photo: Tim Smith works with a student on a math problem.
“Tim exemplifies dedication, compassion and professionalism – all important qualities of a superior teacher,” said Dr. Steven M. Ladd, superintendent at EGUSD. “His outstanding commitment to helping his students succeed is exceptional. The Elk Grove Unified family wishes Tim the best of luck in the next phase of the Teacher of the Year competition. We know he will represent our district, Sacramento County and California well in the national competition.”
Smith has been an employee of Elk Grove Unified since 2001. He has spent his entire Elk Grove Unified career teaching at Florin High School. Smith grew up on a small farm in northern Florida and was the first in his family to graduate high school. Prior to his start in teaching, he spent several years as a member of the Florida and California National Guard and pursued various jobs in the private industry. His interest in teaching began while attending community college, where he pursued a two-week opportunity to substitute for his old fourth grade teacher. Fifteen years would pass by the time he decided to become a student again and complete his bachelor’s degree. This would serve as the catalyst to reignite a passion for education that he carries into the classroom every day. He seized every opportunity to be in the classroom, spreading his passion for education, and continues to help students reach their full potential.
“The entire Florin High School community is very proud of Tim for being selected for this honor,” said Don Ross, principal at Florin High School. “Every day, Tim comes to work and gives 150 percent in teaching his students and providing assistance to his colleagues, if needed. He is an excellent example of a selfless teacher; he will truly do anything in his power to help his students succeed.”
Photo: Tim Smith works with two students in his class.
The California Teachers of the Year Program began in 1972 to acknowledge the growing complexity of challenges faced by the profession and the need to promote collaboration among teachers to address challenges. The program is also designed to encourage new teachers to enter the field.
Photo: California Teacher of the Year Tim Smith chats with a student about an assignment.
The competition is open to educators teaching pre-kindergarten through grade twelve. County offices of education nominate winners through their regional Teachers of the Year competitions. A state selection committee reviews candidates' applications and conducts site visits to evaluate the teachers' rapport with students, classroom environment, presentation skills, and teaching methods, among other criteria. The teachers are interviewed at the California Department of Education in Sacramento. The State Superintendent then selects the awardees.
The 2014 California Teachers of the Year, the finalists, and semi-finalists will be honored by Torlakson at a gala to be held February 3, 2014.
Click here for more information about the California Teachers of the Year Program.
Click here to view some of the heartfelt comments from students and staff in the EGUSD Facebook page.
Click here to view a listing of EGUSD’s past Teachers of the Year, which includes those who have moved onto Sacramento County Teachers of the Year and California’s teachers of the year.
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