(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) Bridgett Smith is humble and unassuming, to the point that she was genuinely surprised when her name was called as the 2022-2023 Cedar Hill ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year.
“I thought to myself after the announcement, ‘I think she just said my name’,” Smith said. “I’m just teaching. It’s just what I do. And it translated to Teacher of the Year.”
Smith has worked at Bray Elementary for 17 years – the first as an aide and the last 16 years as a classroom teacher. She’s been there longer than any of her colleagues and often mentors her fellow teachers, regardless of how long they’ve worked in the profession.
Those who know Smith the best are not shy to share the compliments that she is too modest to bestow upon herself.
“Our Teacher of the Year gives selflessly and is always willing to lend a helping hand,” Bray Principal Dr. Amanda McCarther said. “She attends every event, finds a way to assist, makes a point to speak to everyone each morning, tutors scholars outside her grade level, helps with technology, mentors several teachers and checks attendance when she’s not on campus.”
With Cedar Hill ISD retiring Bray Elementary this month, Smith – a second grade teacher – will make the transition to High Pointe Elementary, where she’ll teach second grade.
It will be an adjustment, Smith said, but she’s ready for it. It’s a new campus and new location but one that is closer to her home, said Smith – a Cedar Hill citizen.
Smith said, over the course of her life, she’s been able to exceed expectations through hard work and dedication.
“I learned that effort makes a difference,” Smith said. “Giving your effort means more than just being smart.”
She remembers applying for an Engineering magnet campus in her high school years, in Houston.
“I thought there were so many smarter kids than me, but I became an Achievement Scholar,” Smith said.
Smith works with scholars who may be struggling to grasp the curriculum. She said there was a second grader one year who couldn’t read the word, ‘cat’ at the beginning of the year.
By the end of the school year, he was reading words like ‘autograph’ and ‘phantom’ on a regular basis.
“You have to take the time to compliment kids and give them confidence, through additional responsibilities,” Smith said.
Smith is able to find her confidence every time she enters the classroom.
“I still get nervous at the beginning of every school year, but when I get in class, it’s time to go,” Smith said.