Teacher Spotlight: Sarah Smith

8/19/2014, 1:23 p.m.
Sarah Smith teaches kindergarten at Jacob L. Adams Elementary in Henrico County.
Sarah Smith says kindergarten is the most important grade there is.

Sarah Smith teaches kindergarten at Jacob L. Adams Elementary in Henrico County. Born in Lexington, Virginia Smith is the only daughter and the youngest of four children. Her dad died of cancer when she was only two-years-old and was raised by a strong mother who taught her not only to be strong, but to “seize the day”, to be non judgmental, to make the right choices, and above all to make a difference in someone’s life.

Education has always been important to Smith as both of her parents valued education and were professionals. Her father was the youngest judge appointed in Virginia and her mom was a published author and taught school.

After high school, Smith attended Ferrum College focusing on Social Work and finished at Mary Baldwin College with a major in Psychology and a minor in EducationSmith obtained her education degree at the age of 40 through the adult degree program at Mary Baldwin College.

“Was it easy? No. Yet, walking down that aisle and having my then 12 year old daughter yell ‘You go, Mom’ was priceless,” Smith shares. “It was also my son’s 9th birthday. What a great day that was for me!”

Smith feels being a teacher has been one the most rewarding challenges she has done in her life—outside of being a mother.

“It is an honor to be trusted by the parents of Henrico County to work with their children. They come to me in September - for some, their first schooling experience - with wide eyes full of excitement and wonder. I want them to feel not only loved but also respected as if they were my own children,” Smith said.

Smith believes children who feel love and respect in the learning environment will not only feel engaged in the curriculum she teaches, but that they will also possess high self esteem.

“I like to present hands on learning through skill streaming that involves everyday life skills such as manners and how to get along with each other,” Smith explains. “My students do this by acting out the lessons. I feel this is very important in everyday life and in the classroom as I feel like we are a family in my classroom.”

Kindergarten, in Smith’s opinion, is the most important grade there is. Kindergarten is where you learn to share, how to get along with your peers, how to deal with daily problems. Children, Smith says, learn a life lesson that there will be a consequence when you make bad choice. On the other hand, if you make good choices, such as get a good education, then great things will happen.

“I always tell my students that they can do anything that they want to do in life. I love to see their eyes light up when they think that they can be or do anything,” said Smith. “If you believe, you can achieve yet you have to work hard at it. Through a positive attitude and a lot of love and encouragement, I have seen many children believe that their dreams really can come true.”

Smith has three children: Amelia, 30, Mackenzie, 27 and Sam, 23 and one grandchild Emerson, who is 20 months old.