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Smoak is Rainbow’s choice for Teacher of the Year

William and Natalie Smoak are parents of four-year-old Andy. (CONTRIBUTED)
William and Natalie Smoak are parents of four-year-old Andy. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Sixth-grade instructor William Smoak has been selected as the top teacher at Rainbow Elementary School.

“I taught a sixth-grade reading class and two math classes this past year but will be teaching fifth-grade next year,” Smoak said. He also serves on the Rainbow Math Committee.

This past year, Smoak used Accelerated Math to supplement instruction and challenge students at their individual levels. “If a student could show me they mastered the learning target for a particular lesson, I would allow them to work on advanced concepts at their own pace individually or as a team,” he said. Smoak also met daily with students to troubleshoot any problems and offer additional examples.

With Accelerated Reader, his reading class tallied more than 9,000 points. The class average for the year was 95.3 percent.

“The most rewarding part of my job is developing a camaraderie with my students that is contagious and makes learning fun,” Smoak said. “This helps build trust that reverberates through the classroom on a daily basis.”

“Immediate rewards” are an important aspect, Smoak believes. These rewards “come weekly when a student I’ve met with in small group finally takes ownership of a math concept and can apply it successfully and independently.

Every day, he encourages his students to ask questions to maximize the time they have in class.

Making an impact on Smoak, his fifth-grade teacher Thomas McClearn “was a master at motivating students to try their best and take the high road when dealing with classmates. I’ll always remember how the environment in his classroom made learning meaningful and fun.”

Smoak earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of North Alabama. He previously taught at Athens Elementary School until his work with Madison City Schools in 2002.

His wife Natalie is the reading coach at Madison Elementary School. “My son Andy is four and will be attending pre-kindergarten in the fall,” Smoak said.

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