TEACHER OF THE MONTH — Allie Smith leaves engineering firm, finds calling at Nederland High

Published 12:20 am Sunday, October 30, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NEDERLAND — Not long ago, Allie Smith’s class was “dead silent.”

The engineering and robotics instructor’s students at Nederland High School were working on one of their biggest assignments of the year.

The silence was broken when a child said, “Ms. Smith, you make me better person.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

And, she recalled, the comment was brought on by no apparent reason.

“Right then and there, I knew I was doing something right,” Smith said.

The NHS educator on Thursday was surprised while in her class to learn she had been chosen as Teacher of the Month, sponsored by Philpott Motors, which comes with a $500 gift card.

“She is fantastic,” said Principal Natalie Gomez. “She builds strong relationships with all of her students. They look forward to going to her class. They do really fun, engaging activities.

“But she has always gone above and beyond for the school. She just always has a positive, energetic outlook. She always has a smile on her face, and that’s infectious.”

With all she’s brought to Nederland High School, it’s a career she didn’t intentionally plan. Prior to starting with the district in 2016, she was an engineer at a firm.

Pictured, from left, are General Manager of Philpott Motors Daren Granger, Engineering and Robotics Instructor Allie Smith, Nederland High School Assistant Principal Michael Tarver, Assistant Principal Brandy Roy and Principal Natalie Gomez, who are congratulating Gomez on her selection as Teacher of the Month. (Monique Batson/The News)

“It wasn’t fulfilling enough for me,” Smith said. “I liked what I did but I wasn’t impacting anyone. And I believe everybody has a purpose, and my purpose is to help people.”

One day her mother informed her of a job listing for a position at Nederland High School, where she had once been a student.

“When I saw that job listing, I knew that was for me,” she said. “My favorite part of this job is getting to be influential to young minds and help them grow.”

However, it’s not without obstacles.

“One of the most challenging things about being a teacher in this society is the hardship to not only teach education but teach them to be good humans,” Smith said. “Even though that’s not really our job, we take on that responsibility because we want them to have good futures.”

Another additional responsibility Smith has taken on is sponsoring the school’s fishing team. It’s a group she previously participated with alongside her nephew when he was in the group.

“I grew up fishing,” she said. “I love it so much. It’s an amazing organization that anyone can be a part of regardless of their home life or ethnicity. It’s an all-inclusive thing.”

The group relies solely on community donations, and therefore work to make them matter.

“It’s not just a team that goes and fishes and brags about it,” Smith said. “We’re a team that gives back to the community that allows us to fish. We do a lot of volunteer work to give back to the community. It costs nothing to be a good person.”

Despite not originally seeking a job in education, she said Nederland High is her “first and only district.”

“I would not be where I am today without everyone that’s in my life,” Smith said. “I feel like every person plays a part for me to be as successful as I am with the many things I do.

“I work in a wonderful district that wants us to be better. I have an amazing principal that was my drill team teacher in high school and now is one of the biggest blessings in my life. Brian Spell is our CTE director and wants us to succeed in everything we do. And, of course, my coworkers and my friends. They’re all what keep me going.”