LADY'S ISLAND -- Amid deafening applause, Lady's Island Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Deborah Smith sat stunned Monday until she walked to the front of a school assembly to receive a $25,000 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.
"I wouldn't have worn these shoes if I had known," Smith
said after the assembly, pointing to her
story continues below advertisement> > > Smith is the first Beaufort County teacher to receive the award in the 10 years South Carolina has been involved with the Milken foundation's teacher award program.
"That lady's life won't be the same," Durbin said, referring to the opportunities that are ahead for Smith
As part of the award, Smith
will take an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington for a leadership conference with Milken foundation winners from across the country.
..."Deborah Smith is the consummate teacher," he said.
takes every child, no matter where they are, to a higher level." Smith
is always coming up with creative ways to improve student achievement in her classes and improve the way school programs are run, Bennett added.
Only three people at the school knew that Smith
would receive the award, and it was difficult for everyone to keep quiet about it, Bennett said.
has been teaching in Beaufort County for 20 years.Before coming to Lady's Island Elementary four years ago, she taught at St. Helena Elementary and Battery Creek High. Deborah Smith
doesn't know what she
'll do with the money but she and her
husband have been thinking of adopting a fifth child.
...Deborah Smith, far right, a teacher at Lady's Island Elementary School, is congratulated by Inez Tenenbaum, state superintendent of education, after being named one of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award winners Monday morning during a school assembly.