Darcy Smith, a sixth grade literacy teacher at SeaTac’s McMicken Heights Elementary, has been named Teacher of the Year for the region encompassing King and Pierce Counties and Bainbridge Island.
Students commonly advance two to three grade levels in their reading in Smith’s class. For classroom instruction, she selects literature dealing with issues that touch students’ day lives, such as discrimination, immigration, and poverty.
“Picture a classroom in which 11 and 12 year olds are fully engaged in a discussion that involves social justice, human rights, race, and equity,” said McMicken Heights Principal Karin Jones. “That’s the conversation Darcy facilitates with sixth graders. I compare her to a great conductor of an orchestra; the music is incredible.”
“I believe students come to me with a rich background,” Smith said. “Race, social status, or life situation will not stand in the way of an excellent education for them. If anything, these factors will help in their academic success and understanding of the world.”
Smith came to McMicken Heights after graduating from college, hoping to land a teaching position in an ethnically diverse school. In her 12 years at McMicken Heights, she has taught first grade and sixth grade.
“Over and over again, parents and students tell me that Ms. Smith has changed their life or their child’s life,” Jones added. “Students leave her classroom in June fully equipped to take on the challenges ahead in middle and high school socially, emotionally and academically.
Smith is one of nine nominees for state Teacher of the Year. Nominees will be recognized at an event at the governor’s mansion in Olympia next spring and one will be selected as the state winner.