2019 Longfellow Elementary Teacher of the Year

Fourth Grade Teacher Brea Smith


Brea Smith
Longfellow Elementary School
Fourth Grade

How are you working to increase equity in education and opportunity for students in your school?
For the last two years, I have spearheaded a program called LEAD Hawks. With this program, students are challenged to be responsible, respectful, and safe in every area of the school building and at home. Every child in the building is able to earn LEAD Hawk each week and is excited when they hear their names called on Monday mornings if earned. They are able to earn lanyards and medals and receive special privileges like field trips. I also taught dance for all students and made sure they upheld standards of being respectful, responsible, and leadership. When part of both programs, students take pride and challenged themselves to keep those standards at all times.

What message about public education do you want to share?
What I consider a major public education issue today is safety for students. In order for students to thrive in their classrooms, students must feel as if they are in a safe space. Students see, hear, and experience many things outside of school that we may not even know about. Creating a safe space for my students is important to me and it begins at the beginning of the school year. I make it my mission and point to build a strong positive relationship with each of my students because they need to know that their teacher cares about them and they can trust and talk to their teacher whenever they need to. Providing that space allows my students to be more engaged in their learning and want to learn because they know they are safe, appreciated, and loved. I have that same relationship with students outside of my classroom as well. Having at least one trusted adult where they can go, talk, and relieve some stress can relax their minds and allow them to focus more on their learning rather than outside issues that can cloud their minds.