Each year, KCPS celebrates its many great teachers, recognizing the top teachers at each of its schools. No one person has a greater impact on the education of a child than a teacher, who creates a supporting and nurturing learning environment where children can flourish and grow. This series celebrates excellence in the teaching profession in KCPS.

Kyle Smith
Manual Career and Technical Center
Digital Marketing & Media

What factors influenced your decision to become a teacher? Identify what you consider to be your greatest contributions to and accomplishments in education. 
Both of my parents were teachers. My father taught mathematics, and my mother taught mathematics and computers. My parents have always been supportive and inspirational people. After working in corporate America for some time, I realized that I wanted to make a more significant impact on people. I wanted students to feel the same way about me, how other people felt about my mother and father. When I started teaching, I noticed I enjoyed the individual success stories. I had students from my first year teaching that reach out to me to share their success stories. I feel blessed to be a part of anyone’s happiness.

Describe a project or initiative that you have led or been involved with that contributed to increasing equity in education and opportunity for students in your school.
Rashawn Caruthers initially came to me to discuss the idea of starting a Digital Marketing agency at Manual. Her vision and positive energy had me ready to start teaching this course right away. I literally couldn’t wait to teach something I was this passionate about. I love Advertising. I love being creative. I love writing. I love technology. And now, I was going to have an opportunity to foster some of our youth into something that they could use no matter what they ventured on to do. This Digital Marketing Program has given our students the chance to visit Signal Theory, Trozzollo Marketing and Kansas City Art Institute. We have additional plans to show them everything available in Kansas City. This class helps them get certifications for Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere that give them credentials for their resume. We have real clients with big ideas and they have deadlines. Our students work with their new skills to get real-world-learning on-the-job.

We call our Digital Marketing agency Red Birdy Digital which is a part of many future student-led businesses at Manual. We call it Red Birdy because it is one of the newly added companies for the Manual Cardinals. This year has been more exciting each day as our students say things like, “I wish I could be here all day” and “I didn’t realize I could learn something I wanted to learn for my life after school.”