Andrea Smolin was awarded 2018 Teacher of the Year at the Distinguished Teacher Reception in late December after having been recognized as one of four Distinguished Teachers.
At the beginning of each school year, a nomination process is conducted to decide upon nominees, followed by an application process to be considered for the awards.
“A committee of five former Teacher of the Year award recipients and a member of the guidance department meet under the facilitation of an administrator to discuss the nominees and come to a consensus,” said principal Claire Leblanc. “In most cases, it is a very difficult decision.”
Smolin recently completed her application for Citywide Teacher of the Year.
“Whatever decision is made regarding city-wide is fine with me,” said Smolin. “It was an honor just to have the chance to apply.
Senior Cady Thomas spoke at the reception, revealing to the audience that Smolin had been chosen as Teacher of the Year. As a mentor and sponsor of Cady’s, Smolin has impacted her life in a multitude of ways.
“She always asks about my day, about how my other classes are going, and about my life in general,” said Cady. “A trip to her classroom is sometimes all it takes when I need some extra energy or happiness.”
Smolin has taught for 19 years and currently teaches academic concepts, personal finance, and co-taught English 10. Though she has been awarded Distinguished Teacher in the past, this is the only year she has been honored as Teacher of the Year.
“One of the reasons I got into teaching was because I wanted to see students with special needs succeed,” said Smolin. “I have seen so much improvement in not only these students’ academics, but also in their self-confidence.”
Smolin values teaching interactive lessons with real-life applications, so she often works to individualize and update her lesson plans.
“I differentiate my lessons to meet the individual needs of my students, as each of them brings different knowledge and expectations to the table,” said Smolin.
Smolin also values the importance of creating a long term difference in the lives of her students, as she makes an effort to support and believe in all of them.
“She always tells us she believes in us and tries to help us in any way she can,” said senior Kelsey Fraizer.
Not only does Smolin support her students inside of the classroom, but she is also involved with extracurricular activities, as she enjoys connecting with her students on a level other than academics. She sponsors both the senior class and the Operation Smile club, as well as works with the Dolphin Dash.
“Mrs. Smolin helped me to get involved in my freshman and sophomore years,” said senior class President Krystal Cruz. “She has always been a positive influence in my life, as she taught me to stay organized between my academics and extracurricular activities.”
Smolin credits her students and colleagues for helping her succeed.
“Teaching would be a lot harder if I didn’t have the students or fellow teachers that I do,” said Smolin. “We’re all a team, and I couldn’t do what I do without them.”