Heritage High School teacher and
2012 State Teacher of the Year
Meg Smith is an English teacher at Heritage High School, which is one of the two award-winning high schools in the Lynchburg City Schools division.
Mrs. Smith was named the Virginia State Teacher of the Year in 2012, and during her many speaking engagements on her Teacher of the Year tour, she talked about the importance of community involvement in public education.
“It’s not just when they are in our classroom that we care about them,” Smith says. “It’s in the hallways, it’s between classes it’s before classes, it’s after classes. These are our kids, they’re your kids, they’re everybody’s kids. We want them to go where they want to go, and we’re going to help them get there.”
Mrs. Smith encourages individuals in the community, whether they have ties to the school division or not, to get involved. To volunteer and share their knowledge and their talents, whatever they may be.
Mrs. Smith also recognizes that students come from different walks of life. Knowing and understanding them both as a student and an individual helps her to be able to better teach them. All students have dreams, she says. There are often many obstacles that can get in the way of those dreams, but she believes it’s her job as their teacher to help them keep those dreams in focus. By understanding some of the obstacles her students face, she is able to understand what they need to be successful.
Mrs. Smith stands in the hallway before every class and greets every student by name. She says this is a chance to check on her students in her class and make them feel welcome. It’s also a chance to see her colleagues there at Heritage.
“I actually stand outside my classroom and I greet every student that comes into my classroom. I greet them by name because each student matters that much to me,” Smith says. “And that’s not unique to me. I see my fellow teachers doing the same thing.”