Smith Named MCPS Teacher of the Year
April 28, 2021 -- Manassas City Public Schools is pleased to announce Mrs. Patricia Smith, of Weems Elementary School, as the division winner of The Washington Post Teacher of the Year Award. The award, sponsored by The Washington Post annually, recognizes educators around the Washington region that illustrate excellence in their roles, promote exceptional education and contribute toward student success through their dedication and service. Weems Principal Dr. Zella Jones was named the winner of the division’s Principal of the Year Award. The division winners were nominated by their peers and were recognized during the School Board of the City of Manassas’ meeting on April 27, 2021.
Patricia “Patti” Smith, a special education teacher at Weems, has been teaching since 1993. Smith received her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education from Black Hills University before receiving her Master of Education degree from George Mason University. She is certified in English as a Second Language (ESL) and is consistently seeking and implementing new specialized training.
Smith has been an active member of the Virginia Education Association for 20 years. She has also been a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and served as chair of the Special Education Department.
“[Smith] has a positive outlook and is relentless in her efforts to have all of her students succeed,” read one letter of support.
“Mrs. Smith has established herself as a leader through her reputation and actions,” read another. “Staff realize her patience is a well of internal strength and look to her as a role model.”
During distance learning, Smith helped make the transition more manageable for her students and their families by simplifying the steps to log into the distance learning platform, creating individual pages for students and creating individualized schedules in both English and Spanish. Her commitment to aid families in accessing and understanding technology platforms during this time has served as a model for her peers. In addition to serving her own students, Smith volunteered her time to assist with meal distribution, laptop distribution, supply drop-offs and Weems’ Fall Festival.
Carrie Pendleton, MCPS Instructional Specialist, said Smith meets students where they are, encourages them to grow and her love for education is evident when she’s teaching.
“Within elementary special education, a teacher has to be a jack-of-all-trades and [Smith] is,” Pendleton wrote of Smith in a nomination letter.
Smith makes her students her priority and lives by Weems’ motto of “lifting learners to new heights.” She leads by example and not only possesses each of the qualities worthy of such an honor, but encourages others to as well. Smith fosters an environment of educational excellence among her peers. She not only inspires her students to succeed but ensures they have all the tools necessary to do so.