Prague educator Amber Smith voted Amazing Teacher

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Amber Smith

Pre-K teacher and Prague educator Amber Smith was awarded a plaque and $500 for her classroom after receiving the most votes in the Shawnee News-Star's Amazing Teacher contest which was sponsored by Patriot Auto Group.

According to Smith, she has taught at Prague Public Schools for 15 years and started teaching Kindergarten before moving to Pre-K.

“The last seven years I have learned a lot in Pre-Kindergarten,” Smith said. “Each year every group of kids bring new things to the classroom. It is a joy to meet them and share in their first learning experience at school.”

The educator said she is excited and grateful to be the winner of the Shawnee News-Star Amazing Teacher contest.

“I have never had $500 to spend in my classroom but I do have a wish list,” Smith said. “It will be spent on learning manipulates, art supplies, toys, games and a mini refrigerator for snacks.” 

Smith said ever since she was a little girl who would play with her books and pretend to be a librarian she wanted to be an educator. 

“Somewhere along the way it changed to (being) a teacher. Both of my grandmothers were Sunday school teachers so I saw them modeling teaching throughout my life,” Smith said. 

The teacher said she loves her job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. 

“The key to teaching and life in general is smiling and laughter,” Smith said. “I feel like when the kids find joy in learning they are usually having fun.”

Smith said it’s the fun students have while learning that keeps her motivated to educate. 

“Their laughter helps me to know I am doing something right and at the end of the day smiles help me to see that they enjoyed the day,” Smith said. 

In addition to the joy of her students, Smith said she also loves her profession because of the support she receives from Prague parents and the community.

“They have been so supportive of Prague teachers,” Smith said. “They are the reason I was submitted in the Amazing Teacher contest and it has been a joy to represent Prague.”

The educator would like to thank everyone who voted for her and supported her.  

“In this day and time all teachers carry a heavy load and it is nice for someone to recognize all of our hard work,” Smith said. 

Four other Amazing Teacher finalists will each receive $250 for a classroom project.

They are:

• Sandra Bradley, 4th/5th Grade Special Education, Horace Mann, Shawnee

• Amanda Pierce, Tecumseh Early Childhood Center

• Heidi Presley, 6th-8th Grade Science, Grove Elementary, Shawnee

Rannda Stoll, Pleasant Grove Elementary, Shawnee