VFW Recognizes Kathy Smith for Teacher of the Year Award

On Saturday January 13 the VFW held their annual award ceremony for the Teacher of the Year, Patriot's Pen and Voices of Democracy winners. This year the three Teacher of the Year Winners came from Washington County, a first. From let to right, David Sivret of the Calais VFW, High School Winner Kathy Smith, Middle School Winner Pat Sammer, and Elementary Winner Jody Deacon. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)

By Natalie Boomer


Every year, teachers are nominated by their fellow faculty and staff members for the Teacher of the Year award. These nominations are based on their performance and dedication to their school and students. This year, the VFW recognized Kathy Smith of Calais High School, Pat Sammer of Calais Middle School, and Jody Deacon of Princeton Elementary School (featured in last week’s issue). 

Kathy grew up in Bangor, but moved to the Calais area in her junior year of high school. From there she attended Calais High School and continued until she graduated. “I graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Life Science Biology, with a minor in chemistry. I took education classes at UMM for teaching science in 1991,” said Smith. Her journey in the teaching field began when her youngest child started kindergarten and she became a substitute teacher at the local schools. “I’ve worked in the system first in the early 1980’s, then as a volunteer in the elementary library and classroom,” said Smith.

She moved on to become an Ed Tech with fellow Teacher of the Year Pat Sammer at the Calais Middle School and then the elementary school. When Smith eventually moved on to an Ed Tech position at the high school in the Life Skills program, the position of special education teacher became available in September. Not long afterwards, Sammer and a former Life Skills teacher, Janice Rice, convinced her to apply for the special education position. 

“I got hired, finished my Master’s level special education classes and have been here since. Mrs. Sammer, Mrs. Cox, the Life Skills teacher, and I work closely with each other. Teachers here are a fantastic support for each other,” said Smith.

Smith started teaching at the high school in the year of 2008, and she plans on continuing to teach there for the remainder of her career. “I have no desire to leave these colleagues, this school, or these students. Our family, home, and business are here,” said Smith.