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Carolyn Smith Named a Teacher of the Year


A Bridgewater College alumna has received a "Teacher of the Year" award from the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET).

Carolyn Smith of Roanoke, Va., is the only educator in Virginia on NASET's list and is one of only 26 teachers in the United States to receive the honor. Smith teaches kindergarten through fifth grade at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Salem.

"I feel very fortunate to work for the Salem city schools, where I truly believe we focus on every child, every day," said Smith. "My award would not have been possible without the tremendous support I receive from the administration, as well as the assistants in my classroom."

Winners of the award are nominated by co-workers and peers. The selection process is based on criteria including curriculum development, classroom innovations, relationship building, service to community and school and professional development.

The "Teacher of the Year" award is the second significant honor granted to Smith in the 2011-2012 school year. In the fall, she was named the Virginia Council For Exceptional Children's Teacher of the Year.

"Carlie represents the kind of teacher that we continually seek to turn out from Bridgewater College – one that cares and one that strives to be the best for his or her students, parents and colleagues," said Dr. Mark A Hogan, director of the Bridgewater College Teacher Education Program. "We are proud that Carlie has demonstrated this and has been recognized for her efforts."

Hogan added that the program takes very seriously its mission of "creating caring, competent and highly qualified teachers," and that Smith is an example of this mission played out into the school environment.

"We are very excited for Carlie in her future endeavors and are proud to call her one of our own," Hogan said.

Smith, who joined the Salem School Division in 2010, graduated from Bridgewater in 2007 with honors. At the end of that year she was named Bridgewater's most outstanding senior. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech.

Smith also volunteers with the Challenger Baseball League, providing organized play for children with disabilities. She has also volunteered for the past eight summers with the Roanoke County Parks and Recreation Department's Activities Created for Enrichment camp, which is designed for people from 5 to 21 years of age who have severe or profound developmental disabilities.

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