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Examiner
  • Kathleen Smith is Teacher of the Year for Fort Osage

  • Walking into Kathleen Smith’s library at Cler-Mont Elementary, students and adults alike are transported into another world. Animals hang from the ceiling, a castle sits in the corner and everywhere, books are displayed to catch the interest of even a reluctant reader.

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  • Walking into Kathleen Smith’s library at Cler-Mont Elementary, students and adults alike are transported into another world. Animals hang from the ceiling, a castle sits in the corner and everywhere, books are displayed to catch the interest of even a reluctant reader.
    “I love the library,” she said. “It is a place where I can help kids find different worlds. They can take adventures and journey to places that might not be normally available to them.”
    Smith’s peers have now recognized her role in the classroom as she has been named the 2013 Fort Osage School District Teacher of the Year. She will now be eligible to compete in the Missouri State Teacher of the Year program. After completing an application and interview, the finalists are named this summer. The winner is announced in the fall.
    “I was so surprised to hear my name,” she said of receiving the award. “I had someone else’s name picked out to win and it wasn’t mine. I was not expecting this.”
    Smith has been in education for 28 years, the last seven being at Cler-Mont Elementary. She has served in multiple roles including first, second, third and fourth grade teacher; reading specialist and an instructional facilitator.
    Smith said as a child, she was one of those kids who “loved to be in school.” She said it was that love of learning and her parents that influenced and shaped who she would become.
    “As a student, I was always the one who was the teacher’s helper or volunteered to tutor younger grades,” she said. “So when it came to deciding what career path I would take, teaching was something that I seemed strongly suited for. It was something that came naturally to me and something that I would enjoy doing.”
    Cynthia Sellars, counselor at Cler-Mont Elementary, said she was excited to learn that Smith was named teacher of the year. She said Smith has a way of transporting children through reading.
    “When you walk into the library, you travel into another world. The kids really feel that when they walk in,” she said. “She has been a great addition to our staff. She keeps the energy high and gets so excited helping children. She is high energy in everything she does.”
    Smith said although she has been involved in a number of positions within the education field, when the opportunity came about to move into the library media specialist role, she was excited.
    “Reading is my passion, and this allows me to teach reading and my love of books,” she said. “The library has always been appealing to me. It sort of brought together the teaching of reading, promoting ready, and took all of the things I really loved and put them together in one package.”
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