NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2014 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education, as well as community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 38,000 educators worldwide.
Spring Ridge Academy, Spring Valley, Arizona
Erin Smith was recently honored at the NSHSS member event held at The Carter Center in Atlanta as one of the 2014 Top Ten Claes Nobel Educators of the Year. Mrs. Smith began her teaching career nearly a decade ago as an English teacher at Arizona Media Arts Academy. She also worked as an Adjunct English Professor at Yavapai College before transitioning into her current role as an English and technology teacher at Spring Ridge Academy. Mrs. Smith received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arizona and her Master of Education in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. She is currently pursuing an Educational Specialist degree.
Mrs. Smith believes that equipping students with the ability to problem-solve is imperative to ensuring continued success in academia. She not only teaches her students English, but she ignites an internal desire for the pursuit of knowledge that will extend far beyond the limitations of a curriculum. Mrs. Smith describes the essentialness of self-affirmation and passion, “We need to teach them the power of authenticity. They are the authentic who change the world, not because they are smarter, but because they have confidence and passion and are not afraid to show it.” Each day, she advocates for the prioritization of growth over grades.
Mrs. Smith’s nominating student explains,”Mrs. Smith is one of those teachers that makes kids want to learn. She helped reignite a passion for English and writing that I had lost my sophomore and junior years. She makes the classroom a fun and welcoming environment and never turns away someone who needs help. She is the best English teacher I've ever had.”