Ms. Smith has 16 years of teaching experience. She has been teaching Pre-Kindergarten, Gifted Education, and Preschool Services for Children with Disabilities in DoDEA schools for the past 10 years, at Burrows Elementary School in Quantico, Va., Dahlgren School, Dahlgren, Va., and at Russell Elementary School in Quantico, Va. Prior to joining DoDEA, Ms. Smith was an Early Childhood Special Education teacher at Original Walker Grant in Fredericksburg, Va. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art from Mary Washington College, and her Master of Education Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Ms. Smith compares a teacher to a conductor of an orchestra. Success as conductors is found when "all the students in the orchestra are working together harmoniously to create the unique music that is the sound of learning in the classroom." What makes Ms. Smith "the best of the best" writes a colleague "is the creativity she displays in her lesson planning and instruction ...equal to none. She creates a dynamic learning environment for students with unique learning needs and is masterful at instilling in her students a love of learning."

2009 winner, Kristen Smith
Kristen S. Smith
Gifted Education Teacher
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