Midway High School honors biology teacher Amy Smith has been named the 2023 Outstanding Mentor Teacher by the South Central Area Network for Professional Development Schools. This regional honor recognizes exceptional educators who share a dedication to the field of teaching and the partnership between institutions of higher education and pre-K-12 schools.
“Mrs. Smith is a master mentor teacher,” Dr. Robin Wilson, Smith’s nominating colleague and Baylor University Professional Development School site coordinator, said. “She has developed an art for disseminating and exchanging her best instructional practices with interns assigned to her classroom.”
Smith has been an educator for 22 years—19 at Midway High School—and was instrumental in establishing and sustaining a collaborative partnership between MHS and the Baylor University School of Education. She has hosted 13 Baylor interns as full-year interns, one-semester interns, and teaching associates over the course of her 16 years as a mentor teacher at MHS.
“When I host Baylor student teachers, I start them off with classroom responsibilities on day one: It is our classroom. They are our students,” Smith said. “The best way to prepare student teachers and develop their skills is to allow them the freedom to try out their methods and lessons and then provide feedback.”
In addition to her role as a mentor, Smith is also the lead teacher for the Biology Professional Learning Community and has served on the Midway High School Professional Development School Steering Committee for the past five years. As a mentor teacher, she not only helps prepare student teachers for their careers, but also has the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with them.
“Student teachers provide me with daily professional development, which makes me a better teacher,” Smith said. “I get the most enjoyment from being a mentor when I see my interns grow into the successful teacher I knew they could be. I am privileged to be a part of their journey into the teaching profession.”