Dalaina Smith, 34, is the new USD 234 Director of Academics.
Smith earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, Mathematics Major in 2008, a Master of Science in Reading, Reading Specialist Emphasis in 2012, Specialist in Education in Advance Studies in Leadership, General School Administration Emphasis in 2015 all from Pittsburg State University. She then earned a Master of Arts in Ministry Studies in 2018 from Lee University and in 2019 earned a Master of Science in Education Administration from Fort Hays State University.
” Following graduation, I taught high school math for the spring semester at Parsons High School,” Smith said. “I then accepted a position at Riverton Middle School teaching English Language Arts. Later math and computer application courses were added to my schedule. At RMS I was given the opportunity to begin working with teachers to document and align the district curriculum, this is when I realized that curriculum and instruction was my passion within education. After seven years at Riverton, I accepted a position with Frontenac Schools to serve as the librarian, as well as the curriculum coordinator. The past four years I had the opportunity to work with students in all grade levels, as well as work with teachers to lay foundational curriculum work. I am excited to now begin my journey with Fort Scott! “
Her family includes husband, Jasyn, and “a modern-day Brady Bunch”, she said. ” Together, we have six kids, Huntyr, 20, Cartyr, 18, Lexy, 15, Lyndsy, 14, Bryar, 11, and Gunnyr, 9.”
” As a family, we enjoy fishing, hunting, and church activities,” Smith said. “We’ve recently begun raising English Mastiffs and have three gentle giants: Mabel, Rooster, and Ellie. These huge dogs don’t realize they’re not lap dogs! With all our kids there is rarely any downtime, however, I enjoy making T-shirts in my quiet time.”
How did you become an educator? Is there someone who inspired you to teach?
“My high school math teacher, Mrs. Davis, took even those who struggled and provided learning opportunities that allowed anyone to be successful,” she said. “She provided encouragement and opportunities even for those that did not feel that it was deserved. That was the kind of difference I wanted to make, the kind of hope I wanted to extend. Then, working under the guidance of Dr. Becky Murray (who was previously my high school PE teacher), I began to understand that teachers needed that same encouragement and support. She sought growth opportunities for herself and those on her team. She lead and made you want to follow. Every meeting began and ended with what’s best for students. Her encouragement, personally and professionally, pushed me to pursue my education and career opportunities further. I continue to aspire to be the kind of leader I had the opportunity to work with.”
What is the best part of teaching for you?
“For me, the best part of teaching and leading is seeing students and staff get passionate about the topic at hand. It’s a privilege to get to work with educational experts and work to develop the best learning opportunities for all students.”
What are the greatest challenges?
“This year, no doubt will present some of the most unprecedented times in education,” Smith said. “However, I am confident that the staff, students, and community will rally together to create the best learning opportunities for our students.”