Mitzi Smith is serving her third year as Assistant Principal of Gladeville Elementary; however, it is her 29th year in education.
Smith began her career teaching Special Education at Mt. Juliet Elementary. From there she moved to Gladeville Elementary where she taught Special Education and later sixth grade classes.
“I taught at Gladeville for eight years. My family and I moved to Watertown to begin a small farm and I transferred to Watertown Elementary where I taught for 15 years,” Smith said. During that time, she taught sixth grade, seventh grade, Pre-K and SEEK.
“I moved into an administrative position as Assistant Principal at Watertown Elementary for two years. I am now back in Gladeville. I feel so blessed to see my career come full circle,” she said.
Smith knew early in life that she wanted to be a teacher. Her parents moved to Mt. Juliet when she was 7 because they liked the “small town feel” and at that time — pre-Providence — the city was still very rural.
“When I was a little girl, my sisters and I would frequently play ‘school’ and I was always the teacher. My aunt is a retired teacher, as well. I have always been someone who roots for the ‘underdog’ and I love helping students reach their goals and feel great about themselves,” she said.
Following graduation from Mt. Juliet High School, she received her bachelor of science degree in special education and elementary education from Middle Tennessee State University. She obtained her degree in instructional leadership from Tennessee Tech and a few years later added an early childhood endorsement.
She and her husband, Kevin, have been married for 30 years. The couple met in high school and began dating her senior year.
“Our first date was driving around Mt. Juliet looking at the floods in the summer of 1984 and then we dated for five years before getting married in 1989,” Smith said.
She said her greatest accomplishment is being a wife and mother. They have two adult children, Carley, 27, and Elijah, 24.
“They both just recently got married and chose two wonderful spouses that make our family complete,” Smith said. “Elijah married Katie Tiger, of Gladeville, and Carley married Hunter Shults, of Lawrenceburg.”
She said that Carley is a special education teacher who teaches early intervention special education at Sam Houston Elementary School and Elijah has a degree in agribusiness and is serving in the Army National Guard.
Smith is a member of Highland Heights Church of Christ in Lebanon and called it a big part of her life.
She named her mother as a woman she admires.
“She was a stay-at-home mom until I entered high school. She always put her kids first and I feel like I had a strong background. She taught me to self-advocate and be confident. I am a breast cancer survivor and my mother and sister, Tami, were a big part in helping me to get through that time in my life. I will be 10 years cancer free in December,” Smith said.
Smith admires her daughter too.
“She is always willing to help others and helps lift me up on those hard days. We hold each other accountable on a daily basis. I love watching her with her students and feeling the love she has for them,” she said.
“Another influential woman in my life is Julie Draper. She is a strong Christian woman and is one of the most positive people I know. Her influence has helped me to become a better mother, wife, teacher, administrator and Christian woman. She reminds me to self-reflect and reminds me that it is okay to make mistakes,” she said. “She is one of the main reasons that my faith is so strong. I am so glad God put her in my life.”
Smith concluded that she is blessed to be surrounded by so many great women and wished that she could name them all.