Joni Smith, a 7th grade science teacher, STEM educator, and the 2017 Louisiana state teacher of the year, has been named Southeastern Louisiana University’s 2018 Young Alumnus of the Year.
“We are pleased to honor Joni Smith as our Young Alumnus of the Year,” said Ebberman. “Using her depth of knowledge in science and math, Joni became a STEM enrichment teacher in the science classroom at Albany Middle School. She has been identified as a master teacher in her school and district and is often asked to help other science / STEM teachers in their classrooms.”
Smith graduated from Southeastern in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies and has been teaching for 10 years. In addition to being named the 2017 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year, an honor which earned her special recognition at the White House during an Oval Office ceremony with US President Donald Trump, she was also named the 2018 Louisianian of the Year.
“As an educator, I embarked on a journey to remove the negative labels from my students and replace them with positive ones. The students owned up to their identities and became leaders both in the classroom and in their community,” she said. “All students are just one caring adult away from being a success story. I may teach in a small town, but I have a big vision to be a bold advocate for students, no matter their background.”