Dawn Smith, a science teacher at Gautier High School (GHS) has been named GHS Teacher of the Year.
Smith has been a teacher for 12 years and has been at Gautier High School for 11 years. She teaches biology, honors biology, and AP biology primarily to ninth graders, although she has previously taught 10th to 12th graders.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in secondary education from William Carey University.
Her colleagues nominated her and then voted on her for the award, which meant a lot to her, as did the win.
“The process makes the award very meaningful because it’s based on your peer observations,” Smith said. “I was extremely honored to be named Teacher of the Year. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that your efforts are recognized.”
For her win, she received $500 and says she is looking forward to upgrading and organizing several things in her classroom.
There was no doubt that Smith, who was born and raised in Gautier, and who considers herself a true Gator, would go into teaching.
“I’ve always had incredible patience and very good interpersonal skills so I knew that I could make a difference in a science classroom with my content knowledge of biology.”
Her favorite part about teaching is getting to know the students and watching them achieve their goals. However, there are always challenges, such as meeting the demands of state testing and ensuring that the needs of all students are being met.
And Smith knows she doesn’t have to do it alone.
“It really takes a team of teachers, support staff, administrators, and parents to help students reach their goals.”
Smith lives in Gautier with her two children, Madison and Evan.