Jackson teacher should not have been surprised with MLK honor
Rose Smith had been counting down the days until the annual meeting of the Snohomish County branch of the NAACP that pays tribute to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King. Little did she know that she would be honored for her 16 years of service to people of color in the community.
She even bought a new dress for the special occasion in anticipation of her husband being recognized by his employer, Community Transit.
The head of the Career and Technical Education Department at Jackson High School could only smile when her name was announced as the recipient of the President’s Award.
“I was blindsided. My husband had apparently been keeping the award a secret for more than two months,” Smith said. “We’ve been married for more than 30 years and Tony has never been good about keeping secrets. I was just excited that he actually wanted to take me shopping for new clothes.”
Smith earned the honor for her involvement with students at Jackson as well as youth programs operated by Snohomish County. She learned that she was nominated by a student she had mentored more than four years ago.
“Rose is a remarkable teacher in Everett Public Schools and sets an incredible example,” said Superintendent Gary Cohn. “She has made significant contributions to the success of our Youth Development Program, My Achievers Program and the Students of Color Career Conference.
“Students look up to Rose for her leadership and support. This is a well-deserved honor.”
The President’s Award winner explained that Jackson is a diverse school. Students often seek her help to obtain school supplies, for letters of recommendation or “just conversation.”
Smith is a veteran of the US Navy and a graduate from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. She provides personal guidance to students at the high school to explore college and career readiness options.
The student who nominated Smith did not warn her mentor that being considered for the evening’s top honor.
“Yes, I was shocked,” Smith said. “In hindsight, it was kind of a fun evening.”