Joy Smith – Warren Williams Elementary School

Our Welcome To Sanford Teacher of the Week is Joy Smith of Warren Williams Elementary School. Mrs. Smith is a preschool teacher and has been a part of the Lee County Schools family for six years. Five years have been spent at Warren Williams, where Mrs. Smith was recently recognized as the school’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child Development and BK and K-6 licensure for the state of North Carolina from Meredith College, as well as a Master Degree in the Art of Special Education from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.

Mrs. Smith believes that we are all unique individuals with our own set of strengths and weaknesses. She observes, “As an educator we must build on the strengths of students to help them reach their fullest potential. It is our job as educators to form a connection with each student and their family. It is through connection that we can truly help students in all areas of life.”

Mrs. Smith’s inspiration for going into teaching was seeing the power and importance of early intervention, commenting. “I feel blessed to be able to work in a career that I absolutely love. It is truly more of a calling for me and not just a job. There is not a day that goes by when I do not feel like I am accomplishing something on behalf of my students. It is our job as early education teachers to lay the ground work for all future learning to take place.”

Her best experience in teaching is when one of Mrs. Smith’s students has that “light bulb moment” and growth and development just take off.  She says, “I love hearing from my students, and their families, years later and seeing how well they are doing and how far they have come.”

Mrs. Smith believes prospective educators should enter the profession if they have the passion for student learning, noting “My advice to anyone entering the teaching profession is to examine your heart and make sure you are in it for the outcome and to help all students achieve their greatest potential in all areas of life.”