By Zuo Yang: PNT staff writer
Portales has another Golden Apple Teacher.
Marea Smith, a first-grade teacher at Steiner Elementary School, has won the 2010 Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching. She learned of her selection March 3, and is scheduled to receive the award April 16 in Albuquerque.
“It’s pretty exciting. I do feel like I work with an exceptional bunch of men and women at Steiner who are equally deserving. It’s exciting for me to be able to share with the state the good things that are going on in Portales,” Smith said.
Each year the Golden Apple Award recognizes seven teachers from around New Mexico. Her husband, Franklin Smith, won the Golden Apple Award two years ago.
Smith said almost 250 teachers were nominated, and more than 100 applicants filled out required paperwork. After the initial selection process, the number was narrowed down to 17 teachers, who received a site visit.
Elwyn Hulett, a member of the award committee, said judges watched the 17 finalists teach and interviewed parents, students, peer teachers and principals.
“Marea was one that was just a phenomenal teacher with all the criteria we had to go by,” Hulett said.
Steiner Principal Sharon Epps called Smith an excellent teacher.
“She has many years of teaching experience, and spends many hours preparing every week,” Epps said. “So even though she has experience, she keeps trying to improve and help her children to grow.”
“I think she’s a good teacher, because she teaches a lot of good things,” said Hunter Husted, a student in Smith’s class.
Smith said her father was a teacher in Portales and really enjoyed the job, which was her motivation to become a teacher.
“I truly believe that all kids can learn, and I believe that it’s my job to provide them opportunities to learn every day,” Smith said. “I take my job very seriously, so I spend a lot of hours during the evening and weekends to prepare for my kids.”