LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Brian Smith

Position: Kindergarten Teacher
School: Wittenburg Elementary School
School District: Alexander County Schools
City, State: Taylorsville, NC

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Brian Smith was nominated by his spouse, Elizabeth Smith.

Everything Mr. Smith does is based on his love of teaching!  It's impossible to imagine him doing anything else.

Five years ago, he was recruited by another district to work in their central office, and he was excited to take that opportunity. After two years, he went back into the classroom because of the spark and joy he had while teaching students. He tells his class every year that, "Once you are a Mr. Smith kid, you are always a Mr. Smith kid!" and that is the truth.

"Two years ago, we had the family of a former student contact us and ask us if we would take their children if anything happened to them, because Brian was the best person that they had ever met," said Mrs. Smith. "He spends his summers catching up with former students. He has written letters for everything from summer camps to high school applications for former students. Brian meets families at the local book store to help former students pick out summer reading material, and they call him when they finish their books."

Mr. Smith seeks out grants to fund special projects like an All Boys' Book Club that he created.  He has done this for three years and takes up to 20 third grade boys. They meet one Saturday a month for six months. Each meeting is three hours, and the boys love it. They beg him every year to do it again, but to move it to their grade level. Each boy reads the book and answers the questions before the meeting. It's hard to believe that he can get 20 third graders to read and talk about a book for an hour on a Saturday, but he does. Then, they have themed snacks and participate in a STEM activity. One month, he let the boys Skype with Lauren Tarshis, the author of the book they had read. He creates life-long learners! Each child finishes book club having read six books that weren't for school, and they usually have two or three books to read over the summer. Again, the students and/or their parents reach out to him over the summer to report that they read their summer books.

Mr. Smith attends dance recitals, sporting events, and birthday parties for his students. He truly believes in making connections with his students, which is life-changing for so many of his students and their families. He does home visits within the first month of school. This isn't required, or even requested, by his school, but he knows how important making this type of connection is, so he makes the time.

Mr. Smith serves on his school's Leadership Team, but beyond that, he was named Wittenburg's Teacher of the Year in his first year teaching there. He went on to win the district level Teacher of the Year the first year he taught in his district. He is a leader because he does what is right for students and their families.

Mr. Smith serves on multiple boards at the local and state levels, and all of the boards that he chooses to serve on provide him with an avenue to advocate for students/individuals with a learning difference, who are traditionally disenfranchised from education. His two biggest areas of interest are dyslexia and autism. He has been Vice-President of the State level board of the International Dyslexia Association for the past four years. He is also the treasurer of the local chapter of the Autism Society.

On top of being the district teacher of the year, he was named "The Best Teacher in the Catawba Valley" by the readers of the local newspaper and one the Top Ten Individuals Under 40 by the Chamber of Commerce. He was named one of ASCD's Emerging Leaders in 2015. This was an international honor. He never talks about any of this because he sees himself as a kindergarten teacher, but he is so much more than that. The two awards he is most proud of are the two years he was named Teacher of the Year by the Autism Society.

"Brian also teaches in an adjunct role at the local university, Lenoir-Rhyne University. He teaches multiple classes in the education department and his feedback scores are very high," said Mrs. Smith. "We run into students that he taught at LRU in public, and they all just love Mr. Smith! He has done this over five years."

Mr. Smith is also a blogger. He was a Top Teaching Blogger for Scholastic for five years until this online project was closed. After it was discontinued, he was approached by Scholastic Classroom Magazines to blog for them. He has also blogged for other publications and companies through the years. He was even asked to blog for a Pakistan educational blog, and they loved his post so much that when they started their educational magazine earlier this year, they contacted him to write an article about Transformational Education for their first issue!  Mr. Smith has also written articles and reviews, and has been published several times for Teacher magazine. He has spoken at countless local and national symposiums and events, and has keynoted a handful of events on topics ranging from dyslexia, adoption, reading and autism.

Mr. Smith has a TEDx talk titled Building a Better Teacher and has done several book talks and tutorial videos for Scholastic Reading Clubs.

"All of these examples are proof that Brian Smith changes lives, but what makes him a true LifeChanger is that he gets up everyday with a can-do spirit and goes to work with genuine happiness. He knows that he is making a difference, and that is all he wants to do," said Mrs. Smith.



Comments (129)


Andrea Dellinger Posted 10 months ago

I met Brian in 2009, when he became a lead teacher in Catawba County Schools. As his school’s Speech Language Pathologist, we quickly began to work as a team to support the language needs of the children we shared, meeting regularly to plan lessons that we modified to meet the needs of each student. We consistently co-taught in his classroom. Brian had a wonderful presence in the classroom as he regularly pointed out children’s unique strengths within their individual learning processes. Brian was adamant that the students in his classroom have access to whatever they needed to be successful. I most remember how he welcomed me into his classroom and supported inclusion for all. We often sat together after school, discussing how classroom lessons/activities went and reflecting on what went well and what we felt we could have done differently. He recognized that often when things “did not go as planned” it was a reflection of something we had overlooked and not the result of a lack of desire or interest from our students. I cannot say enough how much I learned and grew through our working relationship. During our time together at Catawba County Schools, I was invited on every field trip as added support for his classroom because he recognized that speech therapy should not be confined to the classroom environment. We targeted goals while out in the community as well. I felt most honored when he invited me to begin eating lunch with his classroom where we brainstormed ways to increase classroom social communication that ultimately led to the implementation of lunch groups where his classroom students had lunch with same age peers who were not in his classroom. Yes, inclusion mattered to him and for all the right reasons. He advocated for students to enter the regular education classrooms in whatever area they could be most positively impacted and experience success. This happened over time with increased exposure that appeared to boost students’ self esteem. We definitely saw wonderful things happening in terms of communication, social skills and learning. We saw students develop relationships, confidence and increased self-esteem. Not only did he advocate for students to be in the least restrictive environment but he also understood the benefits of reverse inclusion. Yes, Brian set up a schedule for students to come into his classroom and engage with his students in their environment too. This also encouraged the development of friendships, confidence and increased self esteem while also encouraging learning. Students were challenged in ways that were fun and impactful. It would be remiss of me if I did not share that it also had a profound impact on me. In addition to all of his work with students, Brian also invited me to present alongside him at the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants where we provided information regarding these very practices in relation to students with Autism and communication needs. In reading what others have written about Brian, it is obvious that he is a prime candidate for such an award and honor. Brian is a lifelong learner, advocate and educator who is devoted to the wellbeing and education of his students.

Alison Morris Posted 10 months ago

I first had the joy of getting to know Brian Smith when he became a Teacher Advisor for Scholastic Book Clubs, where I was then a Senior Editor. Brian impressed all of us immediately with his obvious passion for his work, his wildly creative ideas, and the enthusiastic and caring approach he brought to each interaction with his students. In the years since we first met, my opinion for Brian has only grown. He continually seeks opportunities that will help him expand his own knowledge, support fellow teachers, and pursue new opportunities to bring learning and literature to life for all kids. Brian is a model teacher and a tremendous human whose principal goal is exactly in alignment with this recognition: he genuinely wants to change lives and is actively doing so.

Andrea Dellinger Posted 10 months ago

I met Brian in 2009, when he became a lead teacher in Catawba County Schools. As his school’s Speech Language Pathologist, we quickly began to work as a team to support the language needs of the children we shared, meeting regularly to plan lessons that we modified to meet the needs of each student. We consistently co-taught in his classroom. Brian had a wonderful presence in the classroom as he regularly pointed out children’s unique strengths within their individual learning processes. Brian was adamant that the students in his classroom have access to whatever they needed to be successful. I most remember how he welcomed me into his classroom and supported inclusion for all. We often sat together after school, discussing how classroom lessons/activities went and reflecting on what went well and what we felt we could have done differently. He recognized that often when things “did not go as planned” it was a reflection of something we had overlooked and not the result of a lack of desire or interest from our students. I cannot say enough how much I learned and grew through our working relationship. During our time together at Catawba County Schools, I was invited on every field trip as added support for his classroom because he recognized that speech therapy should not be confined to the classroom environment. We targeted goals while out in the community as well. I felt most honored when he invited me to begin eating lunch with his classroom where we brainstormed ways to increase classroom social communication that ultimately led to the implementation of lunch groups where his classroom students had lunch with same age peers who were not in his classroom. Yes, inclusion mattered to him and for all the right reasons. He advocated for students to enter the regular education classrooms in whatever area they could be most positively impacted and experience success. This happened over time with increased exposure that appeared to boost students’ self esteem. We definitely saw wonderful things happening in terms of communication, social skills and learning. We saw students develop relationships, confidence and increased self-esteem. Not only did he advocate for students to be in the least restrictive environment but he also understood the benefits of reverse inclusion. Yes, Brian set up a schedule for students to come into his classroom and engage with his students in their environment too. This also encouraged the development of friendships, confidence and increased self esteem while also encouraging learning. Students were challenged in ways that were fun and impactful. It would be remiss of me if I did not share that it also had a profound impact on me. In addition to all of his work with students, Brian also invited me to present alongside him at the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants where we provided information regarding these very practices in relation to students with Autism and communication needs. In reading what others have written about Brian, it is obvious that he is a prime candidate for such an award and honor. Brian is a lifelong learner, advocate and educator who is devoted to the wellbeing and education of his students.

Meredith Fychok Posted 11 months ago

There truly is no other educator like Brian! I had the pleasure of working with Brian at a leadership workshop through NCCAT. I remember him toying with the idea of the Boys Reading program back then, and I’m so happy that it was a success! Brian builds relationships with everyone he meets and is a joy to be around. Brian is so worthy of this honor!

Miranda Posted 11 months ago

Wow! Reading about Mr.Smith and all his great accomplishments is just amazing! He is also such an amazing, caring, and understanding teacher! Mr.Smith works hard with every child he teaches to help them reach their full potential and he is always available to talk if you have any concerns or questions. I couldn't ask for a better Kindergarten teacher!! My child said he is very nice and always has fun and cool things to do (even tho it involves learning).

Janie Bowman Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is a teacher at my grandkids school, he is always kind and happy. Wittenburg is blessed to have him.

Gemma Hardin Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is really smart and very humble. He has a welcoming personality and he makes everyone comfortable around him. Once you meet him in person and speak to him you will know who really Mr.Smith is. He truly cares about his students, and he is the favorite teacher of my children and I believe he always remembered as a great mentor. Mr. Smith is not only a great teacher but he is also an excellent writer. He is well rounded person that I know because he has a lot of talent.

Susan Miller Posted 11 months ago

I met Mr. Smith last year when my granddaughter started kindergarten at Whittenburg. My first impression of Mr. Smith has stood to be true. He is an awesome amazing dedicated teacher. When I met him and listening to him speak of his past teaching and for the year you could tell it was coming from the heart. He taught my granddaughter to read. Audrina didn't want to leave school she wanted to stay and learn . She enjoyed his class. He took time out and went to her birthday party that year and this year. Mr. Smith has my vote for his passion and dedication in teaching the kids today. Our future leaders. Good luck Mr. Smith

Grace Caldwell Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing educator and person!! He takes time to build relationships with those around him and truly believes that is the key to seeing students learn! It has been a pleasure to learn from him.

Caitlin Posted 11 months ago

I worked with Brian back when I was at Scholastic Book Clubs. Brian's love for teaching, drive to better the lives of his students, and mission for literacy is contagious. He embodies what an excellent educator should strive to be and I look forward to all the amazing efforts Brian will continue to put forth in the school world.

Julee Hefner Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is absolutely amazing! Beyond grateful for all he does for each & every one of his students! Students & parents trust and love Mr. Smith!! Hes such a positive, fun, dependable, and hopeful teacher. Hes definitely the right person for the life changer award !!!!!

Jeff Hodakowski Posted 11 months ago

Brian is an excellent teacher. I had the privilege of being his principal while he was an EC teacher at our elementary school. He worked very hard for his students and helped them experience success. He successfully built relationships with his students and their families. He knew how to make learning fun.

Hannah Caldwell Posted 11 months ago

I had the privilege of having Mr. Smith at LR! I couldn’t think of a person more deserving of this award! I loved him class and he truly cares for each one of his students.

Renee Meade Posted 11 months ago

I enjoy working with Brian at the district level. He is full of energy and great ideas!

Sarah Daniels Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is not my boys teacher, but he is across the hall from their classroom. Every morning he greets them, always with a smile! He knows them well, even though they’re not in his class. Mr. Smith is a wonderful person. No one deserves this award more than him!! Thanks for always being you, Mr. Smith!!!

Monica Campbell Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is a phenomenal educator. Each year, Brian teaches the children’s literature and differentiation courses for teacher candidates at Lenoir-Rhyne. His instructional style is unique and highly effective. He is professional at all times, yet he also demonstrates a contagious enthusiasm that is inspiring to both his students and colleagues. In addition to observing Brian’s positive influence at the university level, I have also visited his kindergarten classroom at Wittenburg Elementary School. I can best summarize this way…If Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, Mr. Smith’s classroom is a close second. The energy, curiosity, and sense of community that his students feel, internalize, and then demonstrate exceed expectations. In addition, Brian reads aloud and inspires a love of reading that all children should have an opportunity to experience. Brian Smith inspires and represents what it means to be a LifeChanger.

Brenda Mendoza Posted 11 months ago

Mr.Smith is a fellow ASCD emerging leader. I met him in Washington at the L2L conference. He’s so passionate about teaching it’s contagious!! Congratulations!! Good luck!!

Lashaunda Lash Posted 11 months ago

Brian is one of the most dedicated teachers and children's advocates I've have ever had the pleasure of meeting and befriending. I always appreciated the extra hours and love he put into his work. However I didn't get to directly experience his zeal for teaching and helping children until I became a foster parent. As a new foster parent, Brian is one of my go-to resources. He has been integral with helping my little ones start their love of reading by always knowing the right book for them, no matter the age or gender of the child. In addition, he has helped guide me through the challenges my foster children face adjusting during their unique circumstance of changing not only homes but schools and/or daycares as well. He has educated me on available resources and helped advocate for them.

barry hardin Posted 11 months ago

great person,great teacher Mr.Smith taught both of our children,great great man and teacher.

Nicole Kent Posted 11 months ago

I've had the great pleasure of working with Brian around his love for books. As a co-presenter for Scholastic and a co-blogger, I've been able to watch in awe as Brian talks with his children, parents, and educators about literature for the very young. I have witnessed first hand his passion for his love of literacy and his students. I have been an educator for over 20 years and I love to see how Brian teaches with such joy and love. His students and parents adore him and he has done amazing things for all of them. He is a life changer for sure!!!!

Lara Holbrook Posted 11 months ago

Brian was an awesome tutor for our sons. He was always very positive and found creative ways to help them learn. Their teachers could see improvement immediately. We are grateful for the strategies he taught them.

ELIZABETH BELL Posted 11 months ago

It has been said that if "you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life". Brian Smith is a true of example of how doing what you love positively impacts not only those who work with him, but also those who are privileged to know him and witness the level of investment, care and influence he has with his students. I have been fortunate to know Brian for several years and have heard him talking about his students with such pride as they learn and grow. Brian implements creative strategies in his classroom to foster excitement in learning new things whether that be music, S.T.E.M. , citizenship or reading. However, what I admire most about Brian is that throughout his career he has created an environment of reciprocal learning in which he absorbs just as much from his students as they do from him. To understand what this truly means, I would encourage everyone to view his TedX Talk "Building a Better Teacher" as he openly discusses how his students have impacted him over the years. Brian is one of the most humble people you will ever meet and is so deserving of the title "Lifechanger of the Year".

Kate M Posted 11 months ago

I have worked with Brian on many different publishing projects for six years and what makes him unique is his ability to constantly think outside of the box! He always puts his students at top of mind and finds creative solutions to many challenges. Brian is a talented collaborator and connects his experience, students needs and passion for education in all that he does. I am so thankful for Brian’s kindness, passion and friendship over the years.

Brittany Pearson Posted 11 months ago

There are so many kind things I could say about Mr. Smith, however, the very first thing that comes to mind is that he absolutely changed my sons life!..and continues to offer generosity and encouragement daily. It truly amazes me how one person can be so WONDERFUL. He always says, "Once a Mr. Smith kid, always a Mr. Smith kid" and that is so true. The impact that he has made on my childs life, and on MANY others is a huge and lifelong one. He is THE VERY BEST at what he does and deserves to be recognized for all of his hard work and dedication. We LOVE Mr. Smith!!!

Dena Nigrelli Posted 11 months ago

I worked with Brian when he was an Exceptional Children’s teacher at our elementary school. He had a great rapport with our students and he was a strong advocate for them. I loved how his love for reading was contagious in his classroom.

Kimberly Loftin Posted 11 months ago

Brian tutored my daughter on the weekends because she didn't go to his school and she has dyslexia. I watched her struggle and get so frustrated before we met Brian, he got only taught her rules to help her he gave her hope and confidence, she graduated a year early and while she worked very hard, Brian gave her the tools to succeed. I will never be able to thank him enough for being exactly what she needed.

Mary Brown Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing person all around! We are so blessed to have him as a Kindergarten teacher at Wittenburg Elementary! He is a terrific teacher who engages his students and forms meaningful relationships with not only students, but their families as well. He pursues grants like the Boys Reading Club to help make reading cool for boys. Additionally, he serves on multiple state boards. Brian is also a resource for staff, myself included. His experiences and expertise are invaluable. Brian serves on our School Improvement Team and our Student Support Team. That’s a lot of time for a teacher who already has so much to do! Brian is a great make role model for all students. Most importantly, Brian truly loves his students, they’re his kids! His impact will carry down from the student he’s had and will have to their children grand children and all who follow not only his academic teaching but his teaching on how to get along with each other and be good people. As Brian’s principal, I heartily recommend Brian for the Life Changer Award!

April Kehoe Posted 11 months ago

When my son was in early elementary I started to see the signs of dyslexia. I first went to his teacher and she said “He’s fine”. I knew we needed help and school seemed to be a dead end. Enter Brian Smith...He guided our family though testing, many meetings at school, and started tutoring my son. For 2 years during the school year and summer vacation Brian tutored my son with a specialized reading program for dyslexia. While Brian no longer tutors my son he continues to offer guidance when we need it for 504 meetings, deciding on accommodations, and class selection. Brian stepped in and helped us when we first needed it and continues to be available when we need him. Brian changed the course of my sons life because research says that early intervention with dyslexia is the most effective strategy for teaching dyslexic students to read. My sons ability to read well was created with a strong foundation by Brian. My son will employ this skill for his entire life. Thank you Brian for being a dedicated life changer for our son and so many more!

Betty Bolick Posted 11 months ago

Brian is a teacher who loves to teach. When Brian looks out over his classroom, he does't just see faces, but individual students with different abilities and personalities. He is devoted to blending these differences to bring out the desire in each child to learn and to do their best

Pat Seale Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith was my grandson' s kindergarten teacher. I will never forget the excitement of his first day of school in Mr. Smith's classroom. He shared that Mr. Smith read the class the book" Kindergarten Rocks!" My grandson picked up on Mr. Smith's energy and enthusiasm! Mr. Smith's love for reading and learning was instilled in my grandson that year. Mr. Smith relates well to children and to the parents. He is a great role model! He definitely goes the extra mile to help all children learn. It is true that once you have been in his class, you are still his kid! He has been keeping up with my grandson for 13 years now and he is always encouraging my grandson and us to continue to work hard and do our best! He certainly does his part in helping educate our children.I am very grateful for what he has done for all of his students!

Amanda Watson Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is simply AMAZING! My son participated in the book club for 3rd grade boys. I believe this helped him tremendously! He did not enjoy reading and struggled with comprehension...that is until he was part of Mr. Smith's book club. His reading comprehension improved drastically not to mention his overall self worth. That in it's self is priceless. He is truly a teacher that is always wearing a smile and you know genuinely loves what he does. I also have a nephew who was in Mr. Smith's class and list of endless things Mr. Smith did to help and encourage him is simply a cut above the rest. Our entire family talks about how wonderful Mr. Smith is when we get together. I am hoping that my future kindergartner will have Mr. Smith so his love of learning and education can begin in the absolute BEST of ways! Thank you Mr. Smith for showing parents that they're truly those out there who will guide and lead their children out of the genuine love of teaching and watching little minds grow!

Britni Minton Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is so deserving of this! He is by far the best teacher I have ever seen! He is willing to do anything for his kids that he can see is possible.. Even if that means going above and beyond! He is so dedicated to the education of all the students in his class and he makes sure each one has the attention that they need to succeed in learning.. No kid left behind! He is an all around great person inside and out.. Regardless if its in the classroom or outside the classroom!! He makes his kids feel special no matter what it takes. Jaiden was in the hospital in Winston for about a week and Mr. Smith made it a point to come visit him, and that was the highlight to his stay.. He was so excited that Mr. Smith came to see him, and he hasn't stopped talking about it since! He deserves this award hands down!!

Mary Blow Posted 11 months ago

Brian is an inspiration to many teachers. His enthusiasm and dedication to the profession is contagious. I feel blessed to have met him through our Scholastic journey and in the short time we spent together, it was evident that he was in this for the children, teaching children to love learning.

Mandy Weisend Posted 11 months ago

Mr Smith is a phenomenal teacher, co-worker and friend. He gives his all to his students and they love him dearly. I hope when my daughter begins school she is lucky enough to have him! You get my vote Brian! Thanks for all you do for our kiddos!

Joyce Wan Posted 11 months ago

I had the pleasure of meeting Brian recently at a Scholastic function and I got a real sense of the enthusiasm and dedication he has for teaching and for his students just by talking to him. I could tell that he goes above and beyond for this students and they are so lucky to have him for their teacher.

Betty Bolick Posted 11 months ago

Brian is a teacher completely devoted to teaching. When he looks out at his classroom each day, he doesn't just see faces, he sees individual young students with different abilities and personalities. Brian accepts these differences and works toward blending them together to instill the desire in each child to learn.

Elizabeth Madarang Posted 11 months ago

Brian truly is an outstanding teacher! I worked with him over the years through Scholastic Reading Clubs Teacher Advisory Board. Brian listens, shares, and truly cares about his students’ needs. His enthusiasm and humor surface immediately! Brian’s collaborative nature makes him both an instrumental team player and a well versed professional educator.

Kimberly Yancey Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is totally devoted to every student he comes in contact with whether in his classroom, next door teachers student(s), upper grades, lower grades and even self-contained classrooms. He truly is a remarkable eduacator! “No, student,” goes unnoticed when their in Mr. Smith’s classroom or beyond elsewhere within the school. He believes every student can and has the ability to learn; especially, while using instructional startegies that are fun and engaging for all students! I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with Mr. Smith as one of his administrators along his educational career. I’ll never forget while doing an observation (unannounced) I ate my first plaintain in his classroom! Mr. Smith’s students were always engaed and focused at the task at hand due to Mr. Smith different teaching syles and strategies that were engaging and FUN...The students all adored Mr. Smith and it was very obvious that Mr. Smith loved them and LOVED teaching. It was truly my honor to have worked with such a talented educator!

Ashley Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is helpful, generous, and truly KNOWS each and every student he teaches. He brings an energy to the classroom that every kid loves, and truly has a joy in his heart for teaching. Congratulations on your nomination ... Much deserved!

Linda McDonough Posted 11 months ago

I know Brian from the International Dyslexia Society in North Carolina. He was a passionate supporter for those with dyslexia and worked hard to support those of all income levels who need evidence-based methodology to learn to read. One seldom sees a teacher who believes so strongly in quality education for all. Brian certainly deserves this honor!

Nikki Kahill Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith came into our lives as my older son’s kindergarten teacher 5 years ago and has remained in our lives as a close friend. Brian was an amazing kindergarten teacher. My shy son came out of his shell and thrived in his class. Brian attended my son’s soccer games and came to his birthday party. His love for teaching and his students goes far beyond the classroom and each student and family feels the love he has for teaching and their child. Brian runs a boys book club that continues to encourage the love of reading well into elementary school. Brian gave my son the most amazing start to his school career and continues to follow up with him and encourage him even as a 5th grader. Brian forever changed my son’s life and will forever be a close friend to our family. He is most deserving of this award.

Melissa Cornett Posted 11 months ago

Mr Smith is one of the best teachers & friends!!! He has been such an asset to my family always giving me guidance & support with my son & daughter. He knows this cause with EVERY passing year I contact him fir advice. He is a selfless person that believes in his students past or present. The Lord blessed me greatly when he placed my son in his kindergarten class many years ago so much that he will most certainly be receiving a graduation invitation when my son walks across that stage in years to come. Thank you for all you do Mr. Smith. You where Caden’s life changer for sure!!!!

Pam Pinnix Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is the best teacher. My Grandson was one of the lucky ones to have him last year as a kindergarten teacher. Mr. Smith cares for kids not just his classroom kids but kids in the community. Our family is forever grateful to Mr .Smith for all he has done and continues to do in Raider's life.

Kathy Walsh Posted 11 months ago

I discovered Brian Smith in a teacher meeting in the Scholastic NYC offices. I sat and listened to his humor and energy and his total enthusiasm for teaching and I knew I had to recruit him to be one of the prestigious Top Teaching Team on Scholastic.com. Brian handled every task and every batch of posts with great skill and care. He knew that he was using his experience and expertise to help teachers all over the country. He was so conscientious about responding to teacher questions and problems. I started taking Brian to present at conferences and saw that there was indeed a personal wonderful connection with this teacher and the teachers who sat in his presentations-often the same teachers returned multiple times to hear Brian’s wisdom and wit. This man is special. He has such a gift with children. He is willing to share his talents with other teachers. You have opportunities in life to meet and embrace people like Brian Smith. They are rare and should be treasured chances to change your life. I know he has changed mine.

Katie Hartman Posted 11 months ago

Having worked with Brian during our tenure as Scholastic Teacher Advisors, I know the passion that Brian has for growing each of his learners and the enthusiasm he brings to everything he does. He also has the talent of discovering the gold that lies within each child, seeing the unique traits that make them each shine. Since first meeting Brian we have continued to collaborate on reading related projects throughout the years and each time, I am always delighted by his energy and genuine interest in his responsibilities as an educator.

Nancy Cross Shimmel Posted 11 months ago

It has been my great pleasure to serve as Brian's editor at Scholastic during his years as a teacher contributor to the Top Teaching blog. Brian's enthusiasim and zest for teaching leaps off the pages of his blog posts. He is the real deal. He loves teaching and he is 100 percent dedicated to his students. Because of his absolute commitment to children's literacy, it is natural that many of Brian's most successful teaching strategies involves books. Whether it is animated read-alouds to the whole class or pairing the just-right book with a particular student, Brian is a marvelous conduit between author and reader. I have never been in Brian's classroom, but through his posts I have had steady observations of his creative solutions to challenging teaching situations. And here comes the life changer part. Brian uses humor -- from silly to slapstick -- to engage every single kid. It seems he has a particular affinity for those big personalities that other educators might find troublesome. For Brian, these kids present the opportunity to go a little further, think a little harder, and find the switch that turns on the "Aha" bulb. And to do this all with a healthy dose of giggles and guffaws. I am delighted to add my fullhearted support for Brian Smith as recipient of this honor.

Catie Waymaster Posted 11 months ago

I had Mr.smith as my teacher in elementary school.he was one of my favorite teachers.he made learning fun and he was very caring.

Ann White Stalnaker Posted 11 months ago

I have known Brian Smith since before he began his teaching career. I have never met a teacher more dedicated to his students, committed to each and every one. Over the course of his tenure as a teacher, Brian has been on a relentless pursuit of teaching strategies to meet the needs of his students. He attends workshops, graduate courses, conferences, and consumes professional literature, all to find the best instructional methods and practices, which he translates into engaging and lively lessons. Brian gives back as well, sharing ideas and inspiration with other teachers near and far. In terms of making life better for both kids and other teachers, Brian Smith is definitely a life changer!

Natalie Johnson Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing Kindergarten teacher. Not only was my son lucky enough to have him in kindergarten but we were blessed to get him again for first grade. Mr. Smith is the reason that my son has a love for reading. I had the hardest time getting my child to want to read. He hated it. Mr. Smith introduced my son to the Bad Guy Book Series and just like that his hate for reading became a love for it. Now that we have moved into second grade his love for reading continues and sometimes I have to tell him to put the book down.

Catherine Schiffel Posted 11 months ago

My first professional encounter with Mr. Smith gave me the opportunity to observe his kindergarten class as part of my duties as a Master Mentor. I was there to observe successful strategies used in his classroom with particular students and to bring those strategies back to the teachers I mentored. After my initial observation, I knew my mentees needed to truly see Mr. Smith in action and then reflect on their own observations. We saw a master deliver his lessons with energy, joy, and true passion for the profession. Mr. Smith practices the art of teaching. It is a personal calling that goes beyond his classroom. Later on, my friend's grandson had Mr. Smith as a kindergarten student, and I am convinced this amazing start sparked a love for learning that he is demonstrating now at the seventh grade level. Inspiring boys to read has always been a unique challenge. It is even more challenging with the lure of video games demanding their attention at every turn. The Boys Book Clubs have created a new generation of book lovers. Imagine twenty boys reading books not assigned, answering comprehension questions, following up with hour long discussion, and giving up a Saturday to do it! I hope we can see a follow up on these young men as they grow up. I feel sure we will see the impact belonging to this club will bring to their lives. When students talk about a former teacher for years after leaving their classroom, you know they have encountered a life changer. I have contact with college students privileged to have had Mr. Smith at Lenoir-Rhyne. These future educators leave his class excited to share their experiences and with a desire to emulate Mr. Smith in their own classrooms. Teachers make a difference. Teachers have the opportunity to change lives. Mr. Smith is a life changer. Our community and our world will reap the benefit.

Becky Beerbower Posted 11 months ago

This is indeed a wonderful description of Brian Smith! I have been a professional colleague of Brian's for many years, and, more importantly, I am the parent of a child Brian taught when he was an elementary resource teacher. Brian has always set high expectations for his students, for excellence in our public schools, and for top-notch teacher training to equip our teachers to the highest professional standards. And, of course, he has a great sense of humor, AND he loves good children's books so much!! What more could we want in those individuals who teach our children? That's it, so our thanks to Brian!

Cassie Hollar Posted 11 months ago

When my youngest started Kindergarten, the only thing I could think about was how sorry I felt for whoever her teacher was going to be! Not that she was a terrible kid, but she was smart, got bored easy, and could be super headstrong and stubborn. She didn't mind telling you exactly what she thought either! Well, the lucky victim just so happened to be Mr. Smith. From the first day we walked through his classroom door, to the day we said our goodbyes, he blew my mind. He genuinely loves each and every one of his students. Mr. Smith does anything and everything he has to to make sure your child is learning. From trying to acquire the newest teaching equipment, to good old fashioned one on one, to attending a ball game, he wants to see all of his kids excell. He not only teaches your child, he helps them to be their best person in and out of the classroom. All of his former students come back to see him, and all the parents of rising kindergartners hope their child is placed in his class. My daughter is a better student and person because we had the privilege of having Brian Smith as a teacher.

Stephanie Woody Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is a wonderful teacher! My son had him last year and loved him! Mr. Smith is the best teacher any child could ever have!

Elissa Mattis Posted 11 months ago

I have known Brian through a global pen pal exchange that I run for Kindergarten classes. He is clearly dedicated to providing his students with as many meaningful and authentic experiences as possible. His passion for his work is clear. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him over the years!

Bridgett Fox Posted 11 months ago

I have had the privilege of working with Brian Smith for several years now. He is one of the most caring and dedicated teachers I have ever met. He is truly deserving of this award!

Jennifer Mclauchlin Posted 11 months ago

Brian is an amazing individual. I have know him for ten years as a fellow educator and Orton tutor. His love of teaching , enthusiasm, and kindness is contagious. He always has a smile on his face. He is an advocate for children and never gives up on them. He is very deserving of the special recognition .

Jennifer LaGarde Posted 11 months ago

Although we've never met, I've been connected with Brian, through our Professional Learning Network (PLN), for too many years to count. In that time, I've come to admire Brian's fierce advocacy for the learners he serves while also being consistently moved by his passion for reading and the power of books to change lives. Whether rallying support for programs or materials his students need to acting as a mentor to other educators who turn to him for guidance, Brian is an unwavering cheerleader for kids and the educators who devote their lives to them. The world is a better place because Brian Smith is in it and I'm happy to add mine to the chorus of voices singing his praises.

Angela Lawrence Posted 11 months ago

Brian believes in the potential of every child, and he is dedicated to helping every child learn. Brian doesn’t expect children to learn the way he teaches. Instead, he teaches the way they learn. He uses different strategies until he finds the right fit for the student. Brian expresses his compassion for children who learn differently outside the classroom also. In addition to serving on board of Patrick Beaver Learning Resource Center, Brian has actively served on the North Carolina branch of the International Dyslexia Association and the Catawba Valley Chapter of the North Carolina Autism Society. Brian has taught me so much about how to help children with dyslexia become successful readers. Caring, dedicated, and creative, Brian is very deserving of this honor!

Gina Stowe Posted 11 months ago

I met Mr. Smith when my son was in elementary school. My son was having trouble with reading and after being tested in many areas and then being tested outside of school, He was ddiagnosed with dyslexia. My son was struggling in reading and was behind. I then asked Mr. Smith if he would tutor my son with the reading problems he was having due to the dyslexia. Mr. Smith worked with my son3 days a week and 2 summers. He really made a difference in my son’s life. He is now a junior in high school and is doing great. I could never thank him enough for what he did in my child’s life and helping him to overcome some of his struggles. Mr. Smith is wonderful person and rally cares for his students. Your awesome Mr. Smith.

Deborah Luckett Posted 11 months ago

I have had the pleasure to work with Brian Smith as a board member of the NC International Dyslexia Association. He is a leader in the field! Brian's leadership at the NCIDA has been incredible. He works tirelessly to advocate for students with disabilities. Through his leadership, he has helped hundreds of parents and teachers further their knowledge of dyslexia and interventions to support their students/children. As a colleague and friend, I can't think of a more deserving person to receive this honor!

Becky Beerbower Posted 11 months ago

This is indeed a wonderful description of Brian Smith! I have been a professional colleague of Brian's for many years, and, more importantly, I am the parent of a child Brian taught when he was an elementary resource teacher. Brian has always set high expectations for his students, for excellence in our public schools, and for top-notch teacher training to equip our teachers to the highest professional standards. And, of course, he has a great sense of humor, AND he loves good children's books so much!! What more could we want in those individuals who teach our children? That's it, so our thanks to Brian!

Laura D Posted 11 months ago

I met Brian Smith several years ago through my work in children’s books. Rarely do you find a person so dedicated to his field and so enthusiastic about his students. Brian is one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve met. I love listening to him tell stories about the kids in the classroom - each of them is so important to him and I can only guess at the huge impact he has in their lives. In my own job, he has been a huge help and is extremely generous with his time. I admire him and all that he does - we need more educators like him!

Leann Bradshaw Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is just an all around super person/educator!! Always available to help with questions about reading materials, tutoring, or concerns in general. Giving me his very own personal cell number. Always going way beyond what’s expected. He was the first elementary educator that helped our family with the tutoring help we needed to get our son on the right path. I will forever be greatful for that and his friendship. I can think of no other person that deserves this honor more than Brian !!!

Linda Lawing Posted 11 months ago

Enriches. This word describes Brian's life approach in all that he does. All nominees, just by their nomination, I am sure are great educators and advocates for children. But, I am just as sure that Brian is the standard to strive toward. Education, caring and total enriching of a child's life is as much a part of Brian as his heartbeat. If he does not win this award, nothing will change with him. He will continue to enrich the lives of children and anyone with whom he is around. If he does win this award, nothing will change with him, except for him thinking of ways to live up to it by enriching others even more.

Meredith Burton Posted 11 months ago

I met Brian through our shared love of books and our mutual connections to Scholastic. Brian is a passionate educator with a heart of gold. I believe that he would truly do anything for his students and he works tirelessly to give them the greatest gift: a passion for learning and the ability to continue learning through reading and exploration. He is definitely a Lifechanger.

Tracy Millsaps Posted 11 months ago

I met Mr. Smith in grad. school! He stood out from the beginning. We learned a great deal from each other during that time, but Mr. Smith was so natural in his teaching abilities! Always able to bring life to his lessons. We could see glimpses inside of his classroom through the excitement in his presentations! I thought then that any child/family would be better for having spent a school year with Mr. Smith! I still believe this to be true to this day! Mr. Smith does deserve this recognition, he is a blessing to all that become part of his school family! He is a life changer!

Melissa Berry Posted 11 months ago

I have known Brian Smith for many years. He is a wonderful teacher, mentor, child advocate and friend. He has shown his love for children through his teaching style, making sure each child’s needs are met and no child is left behind. Mr. Smith loves children of all personalities and abilities, as he demonstrated while working with exceptional children in the school system. Mr. Smith helped me learn to be an advocate for my own child who is dyslexic. He was an instructor when I was learning how to teach my daughter to read. He also encouraged me while I homeschooled my daughter for a year to help her catch up so she would not lag further behind. There are not enough words of gratitude for all that Mr. Smith has accomplished and helped others to accomplish. I am thankful for educators as dedicated as Mr. Brian Smith

Kaye Tester Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is the best teacher any child could ever have ,you will never know the impact you have on the children's life ,my granddaughter loved him ,and I appreciate you

Gina Sain Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing teacher. He connects with his students as soon as they walk in the door. He is always there for his students. His philosophy is that his students are always his students. He goes over and beyond to help his students become lifelong learner's. He is a true professional, mentor, and friend.

Meghan Everette Posted 11 months ago

I've had the great pleasure of working with Brian around his passion - books. As a co-presenter for Scholastic, co-blogger, and ASCD Emerging Leader, I've been able to watch in awe as Brian talks to children, parents, and educators about literature for the very young. Brian's passion for his students and how he is able to connect with even the most stubborn or disconnected young children is phenomenal. He finds books that speak to the heart of children's' worries, fears, desires, joys, and experiences and then draws them in with his own love and knowledge. His laughter and joy at educating the very young is infectious and I'm proud to count him as a colleague and friend. We all need a Mr. Smith in our lives.

Samantha Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing teacher and person in general. My daughter was in his class last year. She came home happy daily excited to tell me all about her day in Mr. Smith's class. She started her year struggling and insecure about her reading. He took the extra time to help her feel more confident and now she absolutely adores reading. His love for his children does not stop when they walk out of his doors. My youngest son was also a member of his All Boys Book Club. A year later and he still talks a lot about their Saturday morning book club meetings and how he wishes he could be in another book club with Mr. Smith.

Tammy Mitchell Posted 11 months ago

Brian is an amazing teacher. He puts his whole heart into helping his students learn. I am very thankful my son had the privilege of being in Brian's class.

Dorothy Dalton Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is very deserving of this special recognition. I have known Brian since 2003, when he was the Exceptional Children’s teacher at Oakwood Elementary. He had fantastic rapport with all of his students, and he was a go-to for collaboration with all teachers on staff. He has only grown more amazing with time. Over the years, I have called upon Brian for advice, and he has always been there to lend a helping hand. He even came to my home one summer, to tutor my nephew using his expertise from Orton-Gillingham and the Augustine Literacy Project. I personally know, that he has touched the hearts of so very many...be they students, teachers, parents, and/or administrators. Through his work with Scholastic, he has reached educators across the world, and his TED Talk brought tears to my eyes; it is one all educators should take time to watch. Brian is indeed a life changer! ~Dorothy Dalton, MAEd, NCCTM Outstanding Elementary Math Teacher 2014-2015, PAEMST Nominee 2016-2017

Kara Taylor Posted 11 months ago

We love Brian Smith! He taught one of my sons in Kindergarten and made such a positive impact in his life. My son absolutely LOVED going to Kindergarten! Mr. Smith brought such a high level of enthusiasm and love for learning to his classroom, that it couldn't help but be contagious! He truly appreciated the unique personalities of all his students, and it was definitely obvious by the way he cared about each and every one of them. My son is now in 6th grade but he still talks about Mr. Smith and all the creative ways he made learning and the love of reading fun!

Jason Mull Posted 11 months ago

My family and I cannot say enough about Mr. Smith and his passion and dedication for his career. Our son was in Mr. Smith’s classroom last school year and it was a great fit for him. Our son is off to a great start in public school because of the sound foundation and the excitement for learning that Mr. Smith has instilled in him and the other children. He makes such a lasting impact in these kids lives. This year, my son stops by his room daily to tell him hello and give him a hug. Making this kind of impact in a child’s life goes so much further than what is learned in the classroom on a day to day basis. I don’t know when Mr. Smith sleeps. He is involved in so many things outside of the daily job. He attends countless events and games that his children participate in. He has dedicated his life to teaching and making an impact in children’s lives. Therefore, he is very deserving of Life Changer of the Year. The man has a true gift. We are forever thankful and grateful for him.

Tammy Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith greets his students at the door each day with a big smile. He often has a line of former students stopping by as well. Mr. Smith advocates hard for his students so they can reach their full potential. He makes learning look like fun. You should stop by for "Mustache Mondays". Our school is lucky to have him.

Heidi Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing individual! I have had the pleasure of working with Brian in two school systems, and now am on a non-profit board with him. His energy exudes positivity and vibrancy. He is a family man and superb teacher; always putting others first. As can be noted by his wife, " he gets up with a can-do spirit and goes to work with a genuine happiness,as he knows that he is making a difference." Brian's heart is dedicated to everything he does, which is why he has made such tremendous impacts on so many individuals.He is a perfect example of a "Life Changer!"

Krista Turner Posted 11 months ago

My son hasnt had the pleasure of having Mr. Smith for a teacher but we still love him! ALWAYS has the biggest smile on his face when we see him at school! You can tell mr. Smith loves being a teacher and doing anything he can to help his students get where they need to be all while having fun at the same time! Hes the kind of teacher that changes lives ?

Nicole Wise Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith was the first teacher my oldest child ever encountered and from the first day of kinder screenings, Mr. Smith showed what an amazing role model and teacher he is. He saw us coming down the hall and greeted my child first (on his knees at my son's level). He then found out my child liked imagination movers and tried dancing and singing their songs to win my child over. He spent so much time and energy on trying to get my child to open up and learn throughout the year that he was first to see that my child needed extra help. After recognizing that my son was in the autism spectrum, he worked diligently to get him into the correct programs and all the while refused to give him up into another class. If it were not for this teacher being the type of person he is, I'm sure my oldest would not be the better adjusted student he is today. We still talk about the love and appreciation we have for him for touching our lives and helping us to adapt and understand our child and the needs he has for learning and socially adjusting. "Lifechanger" is definitely a title this teacher has, regardless of paper or trophy to commemorate it.

Kristi Childers Posted 11 months ago

I taught with Mr.Smith at the beginning of his career. He was teaching for one reason, his students. He was always reflecting on ways to improve his instruction so he could reach more students.

Amanda Nehring Posted 11 months ago

Brian is such an inspiration to other teachers and such a genuine guy. I was honored to work with him for two years as a fellow Top Teaching blogger for Some, learning so much from him in the process. His love of reading is contagious and his heart for children even moreso. I can think of no one who deserves this honor more than Mr. Smith!

Alice Rullman Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is one of the most professional, excellent, outstanding teachers I have ever known. Always learning, thoughtful and absolutely a lot of fun to be around. He is a positive influence and life changer for students and teachers alike. He deserves this award.

Ashley Smith Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith was my son’s Kindergarten teacher. My son, Gunner, is now almost 12 years old and in 5th grade. If you ask Gunner who’s his favorite teacher that he’s ever had, he will quickly answer “Mr. Smith, DUH!” Gunner was a difficult child to teach. With an undiagnosed Lazy Eye (caught in 1st grade), it was assumed Gunner had dyslexia and that’s why reading was so difficult. Mr. Smith spent extra time not only with Gunner, building a trusting relationship and working to improve his reading, but he also spent time with me to explain ways to help Gunner and support his education in a positive manner. There is no doubt that Gunner grew as a child and I grew as a parent under the wing of Mr. Smith. He will ALWAYS be our favorite teacher!

Dana Huffman Posted 11 months ago

The nomination for Mr Brian Smith is the absolute best explanation of what this man means to his students and all who come in contact with him. He not only loves his students, he loves their whole family. He instills in his students the love for learning and reading but also teaches them that they are all special and will all succeed in whatever they may choose to do with their lives. Our son Jacob was in his class in kindergarten...and Jacob still goes to talk to Mr Smith...still thinks of Mr Smith on special occasions....still remembers what he learned...from Mr Smith. Because Mr Smith made a lasting impression on my son that will be there forever. What more can you ask? He truly cares for each of his students and truly loves his job. We look forward to Jacob always being “one of Mr Smith’s students”. I wholeheartedly hope he is given this award...he deserves it!!

Reba Walden Posted 11 months ago

I met Brian when he took an Orton-Gillingham class I was helping teach many years ago! We have stayed in contact through workshops, conferences, board meetings, staff development and working together to find tutors for students! Brian is one of the most knowledgeable, dedicated, caring, and motivating educators I have ever had the privilege to consider a friend and colleague. He puts children first!

Andi Banks Posted 11 months ago

Mr Smith tutors my son who is dyslexic. His love for children and his heart for kids with reading differences shines through him. He is so deserving of this award.

Vickie Dieter Posted 11 months ago

I can't think of anyone more fitting for the recognition as a Life Changer than Brian Smith. I have known many parents over the years who sing Mr. Smith's praises as an amazing teacher for their child, including parents who have children with special needs. I can only imagine the number of students and families he has impacted over the years. I also know teachers Mr.Smith instructed at the local university and new teachers he has mentored. Each one has shared how much they have learned from Mr. Smith and how grateful they are for his help and support. Mr. Smith is perhaps the biggest proponent and supporter of student literacy I have ever known. He has done presentations at our local parent groups to help families understand the reading process and provided strategies to help parents promote their child's reading success. He had done this on own time with no compensation. Brian Smith is a tireless champion for ALL children and I am honored to know him.

Jeremy Brunaccioni Posted 11 months ago

As a former fellow Scholastic Top Teacher blogger I feel I can vouch for Mr. Smith's love for and dedication to the education field. He has spent years inspiring students to love learning, as he has similtaneously reached out to educators to help make them hone their practice. He is well respected by students and parents, as well as educators from across the country. Simply put, Brian is by definition, a life changer.

Lisa Esquibel Posted 11 months ago

Brian is an outstanding, dedicated teacher. His innovative approaches make him stand out as a top educator. I've enjoyed following his blogs to get new ideas for my own classroom. Mr. Smith is very deserving of this honor.

Deidra Chandler Posted 11 months ago

I have know Brian through our International Dyslexia membership and various workshop across the state. Brian has been an ardent supporter of children with Dyslexia and has tutored many dyslexic children. His support for the dyslexic community extended to serving on the NCIDA board and offering workshops on what it's like to have dyslexia. Brian's eagerness and knowledge is apparent in every choice he makes when it comes to giving children with dyslexia the advantage they need to become confident readers and writers. Brian is such an asset to our dyslexic community because he is a continual learner, And, he shares that knowledge with the local, regional, state, and national dyslexic community. Brian truly makes an impact in our community changing lives by giving of himself.

Kaye tester Posted 11 months ago

He was my great granddaughters teacher ,I will never forget the impact he had on her little life ,she will always be a Mr Smith kid ,she loves him so much ,he will never know how much I appreciate him ,for being there for her

Stephanie Calderon Posted 11 months ago

I have worked with Brian in several settings over the years. He always has a fun loving spirit and loves his students. He makes learning fun for them and they blossom and flourish in his classroom family!! His students look up to him and love learning because of how they see his love of learning coming through.

Angela Hale Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is a wonderful educator. He was my son's teacher for kindergarten and first grade. When Mr. Smith says once a Mr. Smith kid always a Mr. Smith kid he means that. I will be forever thankful for him he has helped my son in so many ways. He has definitely been a life changer in our family, without him I don't know how successful my son would be. Mr. Smith set him up for success and cheered him on through everything. Not only does he support his kids academically but he also supports them in extracurricular activities as well. I only hope that my youngest son gets him as a teacher when he enters kindergarten.

Brenda Pope Posted 11 months ago

Sometimes I used to wonder why Brian taught children. He is able to help me with any issue that I might face and offer insight to any subject. I often told myself that he should apply his talents to become the best psychologist this world has ever seen and make tons of money. It isn't about money for Brian. I watched and listened to Brian over the years. It is like he found the root cause of the world's issues and tackled it from a child's perspective. He offers everyone the opportunity to see the world in a better light and how to love themselves and mostly how to learn. He inspires me. Watch his TEDx, it is enough to inspire anyone to become a better human. His positive attitude and desire to help others around him succeed is infectious. He doesn't only touch the lives of these children by being the best teacher, he teaches us all about devotion, trust, being a great spouse, being a great parent and friend. But he teaches us all about love. He is one of the most extraordinary individuals that I have ever met.

Adria Klein Posted 11 months ago

Brian’s accomplishments as a teacher and leader are outstanding. The nomination details those and tell a great deal about the person. I met him through his excellent professional writing and blogging and learned more about his many leadership roles in his district and school. His ability to communicate with children, parents and teachers is amazing. He knows how to observe and respond to meet their needs. He isn’t about what he can accomplish but he is truly dedicated to service and learning. I recommend him for all of the reasons detailed by the nomination and comments by others, and must note that he truly embodies being a gifted teacher in every sense of the word.

Kim Heckler Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is one of the most enthusiastic educators I have ever met. His joy for learning is contagious. The professional development ideas, teaching strategies, favorite book titles, and classroom stories he has shared have inspired so many others. He is a true life changer for his students, colleagues, family, and friends!

Katelyn Ulrich Posted 11 months ago

I worked with Mr. Smith when I was a beginning teacher. I am so glad that he was one of my colleagues at that formative stage of my career. I was able to take so much from his example and become a better teacher. The environment he creates for his students is nothing short of magical. They feel invited, safe, nurtured, and loved. He is the master of creating memorable and fun experiences for his students. He always meets his students where they are. This is the ultimate recipe for learning! He created a reverse inclusion drama club during the time we worked together. This is only one example of him going above and beyond. He constantly reflects on his practice and is always willing to learn/grow to become a better teacher for his kids. He truly loves teaching children and they love being taught by him. Any student that enters his classroom is so incredibly lucky!

Sara Ralph Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is a passionate and dedicated educator. In addition to teaching kindergarten, he works tirelessly to be a leader in his Professional Learning Network. He works with Scholastic Book Clubs, and is an organizer for an annual free literacy conference, Nerd Camp North Carolina. He is also an accomplished public speaker.

Kelly Burgess Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is a TREMENDOUS educator and person. My son was in his Boys Book Club when he was in 3rd grade, which was such a valuable experience- I could not have been more thrilled as a parent to have my child enjoy reading and look forward to such a group. My son thought Mr. Smith was really fun and funny, and I was so impressed with the books that were chosen and loved to see and hear the things they discussed and completed in this club. Mr. Smith has a way to engage students and make them feel comfortable- it is obvious he is kind, truly cares about his students, and is brilliant! Our community is fortunate to have such an educator who shares his gifts in the multiple ways that he does!

Jenny Hubbard Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met. My son Jaxen had the pleasure of being in Mr. Smith's class for both kindergarten and first grade. It was obvious from the very beginning that Mr. Smith loves teaching and he loves his kids! Mr. Smith goes out of his way to make sure each child has the best learning experience and he is always positive and encouraging to the kids. I have often volunteered and seen how Mr. Smith looks at each child's individual needs. My son began kindergarten with many struggles in reading but with extra help from Mr. Smith he left first grade reading above his grade level. Mr. Smith also recognized my son had a gift for math and has helped him excel and stay challegned. Besides being a wonderful teacher academically Mr. Smith is so much more, he has came to see Jaxen play games in each sport, came to his Christmas program, and has attended all his birthday parties. My son is now in second grade and we have continued to stay connected with Mr. Smith. Jaxen still stops by his room and takes him a special treat or Christmas gift. My son has also stuggled with ADHD and is a severely picky eater which required some help from therapy. During my son's therapy session he was ask to set a goal for trying new foods. Jaxen very joyfully suggested that if he learned to eat 10 new foods then we could have Mr. Smith over for a special dinner. Even though Jaxen was no longer in his class Mr. Smith was right on board and when Jaxen reached his goal he came to our house for dinner! Jaxen was thrilled! Mr. Smith has helped Jaxen more than anyone I know and we will never forget the difference he has made in Jaxen's life, he has truly changed his life and ours! I belive Jaxen will always keep in touch with Mr. Smith! I cannot think of any person that is more deserving of this award than Mr.Smtih!

Maria Friday Posted 11 months ago

I have known Mr Smith for about 3 years now and one of those I worked with him as his assistant! He also goes beyond ad a teacher teacher to make sure his students have everything they need to make them feel successful in everything they do!! Outside of school he always tries to attend any ball games , birthday parties and any other activity the student be doing!! He always tries to make learning fun so they want to come to school. He tries to make them feel special by speaking to them in the morning when they come in and always tells each one bye and hugs them if they want one!! His love for children's is a God sent and I was greatful for the time we worked together and the friendship we still have!!

Juan Gonzalez Posted 11 months ago

I’ve had the privlage of work with Brian during my time with Schoaslastic Teacher Blog. His contagious passion for education and helping educators is nothing short of inspiring.

Karen Icard Posted 11 months ago

I always love to hear about Mr. Smith’s new endeavors, he truly is one of them. He is a life changer. I have followed his scholastic blog. I remember one about was how he adapts his teaching to the needs of his students whatever the need may be. His daughter and my daughter were classmates years back, that’s how I know Mr. Smith. Alexander County Schools has an awesome teacher that’s for sure.

Amy Ralph Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is my friend and cofounder of nErDcampNC. He was instrumental in helping us develop this camp where educators and authors come together to improve our practice. Not only is he an exceptional educator but he is also a champion for children who have Dyslexia. He is deserves to receive this award because he is an inspiration in the education world.

David Biedrzycki Posted 11 months ago

I’ve known Brian a couple of years. I write and illustrate children’s books. I have visited schools and colleges where Brian teaches. He is a remarkable person. His dedication to his students is second to none. I’ve witnessed it first hand on a number of occasions. Once when I was visiting schools in neighboring South Carolina he got in touch with me and knew I was about an hour and a half away. He asked if we could meet at a restaurant close to where I was staying. He bought and brought with him books of mine for each and every student in his class to personalize. Not only that, as I was personalizing each student’s book he described each and every student to me and told me something very special about them. I left the restaurant afterwards thinking about how totally amazing that gesture on his part was and how truly lucky his students were to have a teacher as committed to their education as he was.

Tracy Workman Posted 11 months ago

I worked with Mr. Smith in the Newton Conover School System and found him to be extremely helpful in finding resources for students experiencing learning difficulties in the classroom. I have also sought his help in finding learning assistance for my neice. He is always willing to help and go beyond what us asked of him. Students, parents, and co-workers are drawn to him because of his witty sense of humor and his vast knowledge of how to help struggling students.

Ashley Posted 11 months ago

Right before my second year teaching, I transferred to a new school. I was excited, but nervous for the change. Brian immediately made me feel welcomed and helped me learn everything I needed to know. He was a great mentor and a friend! I was lucky to get the chance to do inclusion with him and got to see firsthand how much teaching ( and his students!) means to him. He is not only a fantastic friend and co-worker, but an amazing teacher as well!

Kelli Shupe Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is an amazing teacher. He has always gone way above and beyond. The love he has for his students shows with everything he does. I feel that he is very worthy of this honor.

Carmen Brookshire Posted 11 months ago

Congratulations ????

Nancy Meres Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is an excellent educator, he is also a great man. He truly cares about the students and their well-being. He certainly gives of himself everyday to the betterment of students, schools, and community. He is making a difference in education.

Tammy pitts Posted 11 months ago

He is a very great teacher he is good with his students you couldn’t ask for a better person

Salina Yoon Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is passionate about literacy—and that passion is contagious! He grows readers in his classroom by engaging the students with books in fun and unique ways. As an author/illustrator of children's books, I'm so grateful to educators like Mr. Smith who teaches children to LOVE books, and not just to learn to read them. Mr. Smith invited me to Skype with his students so that they could have a more personal connection with the author of the books they were reading. I love that he goes the extra mile for those kids. I'm betting he's changed many lives already!

Erin Sigmon Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith has made a lasting impact on the lives of our family. He served as my youngest kindergarten teacher and a tutor for my oldest who deals with dyslexia and reading difficulties. Mr. Smith goes above and beyond to keep in touch with our boys and to help keep them on track and successful. It is always so awesome when your child wants to call a former teacher to let them know your success and to say thank you!

Teresa Brunnemer Posted 11 months ago

I was fortunate to get to meet Brian Smith in March. He was in New York at Scholastic sharing his expertise with fellow teachers. In November I went to his presentation at the NAEYC national conference. It was so apparent the passion he has for teaching as well as the love he has for his students. While there we also served together advocating for our students as well as other teachers. Brian Smith is truly a life changer and so deserving of this award.

nicole Posted 11 months ago

Mr.Smith is the backbone to our kids education. Not only is he an awesome teacher but hes so supportive to each child and shows unconditional love and encouragement daily to not only his kinders but to the kids in other grades. My Daughter always talks about how much she has enjoyed him. Mr.Smith is 1 in a million with the best personality. He stands behind " No child left behind" and always go the extra mile.

Jean Posted 11 months ago

Brian is dedicated to making a positive difference in his students’ lives! This may not always be easy given the demographics of the area he teaches in. He does not let this stop him. Not only is he caring he is also creative in both his professional and personal lives.

Betty Smith Posted 11 months ago

No one deserves this more than Brian,He is the most talked about teacher I know.Everyone who has ever had any contract with him never forgets him .And the kids absolutely adore him and want to be in his class.He is like a magical magnet ,you just want to be around him and hear what he has to say.

Melinda Glenn Posted 11 months ago

Brian has been a kindergarten teacher at our school for several years. He is one of the best at forming relationships with families. His students and families adore him. He is an advocate for children and willing to fight for what he believes is right! He is definitely a life changes!

Vanessa Martin Posted 11 months ago

I really believe Brian Smith is the right person for this award! I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Smith for 2 years at LCE. He taught the Cluster Class, (austitic class) for two years. Mr. Smith would always make sure these students succeeded in their own way. He would go out of his way to find ways for a student to succeed. You could tell he loved each and every one of them! He always kept in close contact with the parents to assure them of their child's progress. He would always go to bat for his students no matter what! The relationship he had with each one of his students and parents was unique to say the least. Brian first priority was the student. He would further his education with the thought in mind of what student or students would he be able to help with what he's learning. In his class no one fails, they just understand and learn in a different way. So by all means, Mr. Smith deserves this award.

Tonya Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is awesome! My son was in his class last year and he flourished. Mr. Smith takes the time to make each child feel special. He gets to know them on a personal level. He talks with them instead of just "teaching" them. My son will never forget his Mr. Smith!

Stacie Guidry Posted 11 months ago

I knew most of of these wonderful and amazing accomplishments of Brian's, but not all. Even with family, he is a humble man who doesn't boast about himself, but build others up with his knowledge, support and humor. Seeing him in relaxed, personal settings, you still see his genuine drive and heart to benefiit his students in whatever capacity possible. NOTHING he achieves surprises me as he is a remarkable man. I tell my daughter often it would be AWESOME to have had him as her teacher (or mine!). Brian Smith leaves an impression on me, as an adult, and I am sure is magnified ten fold with precious young minds, that he is here for YOU. To help you. To assist you in whatever the need to learn, to crave more learning and to be the best you could ever possibly be. He is, in every possible way-professionally and personally, a blessing to those who know him!

India Palmer Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is my co worker and as a first year in the education system I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to work along side! He is always making sure every student gets what he/she needs! He is absolutely Amazing and totally deserving of this!

Ashlea Mauney Posted 11 months ago

Being a kindergarten teacher to meet is the most important teacher a child can have. They are a child's first impression of "real school" as my daughter would say and can shape their entire perspective. We had the honor of having Mr Smith as my daughter teacher and the impact he has had on her and her education as blossomed into such a love of learning. His creative ways of teaching them and encouraging them to research and love to learn new things has given her such a hunger to know more. She will still tell us almost 7 years later "Oh that's what Mr. Smith taught is to do" when we all her how she knew to do something or research something. We were so blessed to have Mr. Smith and he has forever touched and changed my daughter's life. I believe that he has been a huge factor in her reaching and becoming the best person that she can be. We thank you for touching so many little lives and their families lives too.

Kasey Bolick Posted 11 months ago

Brian Smith is so deserving of this award!! He is a phenomenal teacher, co-worker, and friend!!!

Amy Nichols Posted 11 months ago

My daughter had Ashleigh for her kindergarten teacher 2 years ago. He is a phenomenal teacher! He helped Ashleigh have such an incredibly positive start to her school life, came to her dance performances outside of school, and continues to support her seeing her at school. We are forever thankful for him! Amy Nichols

Brittney Johnson Posted 11 months ago

Wow so many things I didn't know about Mr Smith! But we definitely already think the world of him! He has been the absolute best with Ava this year. His love for teaching shows each and every day! You can tell he pours his heart and soul into his kids. We could never say thank you enough for all hes done for these kids. He has a God given talent and we feel blessed to have him in our life!

Kristin Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is an amazing teacher. I work with Mr. Smith and my son is currently in his class. The safe learning space and positive classroom environment he has created for his students is exactly why I wanted him to be my sons Kindergarten teacher from the beginning. He has a special place for kids to expand their learning without fear of judgment or failure. I have been extremely blessed to work with and get to know Mr. Smith on a professional level and also a personal level. He has made a huge difference in my sons learning abilities. He has extreme patience and LOVES everyone of his kids as his own. Mr. Smith has made the "Life Changing" effect on many of his students.

Mary Posted 11 months ago

Mr. Smith is my co-worker and also my son's current kindergarten teacher. He's amazing at his job and my son loves him dearly.

Brenda Hefner Posted 11 months ago

I already knew Mr Smith was awesome ! My Granddaughter is in his room. She comes home everyday telling me what she learned and what Mr Smith said. It amazes me how he teaches the kids so quickly with his learning tools. Ways I never thought about to use. Allie truly loves Mr Smith and we are blessed to have him as her teacher ! He’s one amazing TEACHER ?? So worthy of this honor !