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Photo: Kaitlyn Case
LRHS’s Kelly Smith Williams is Manatee’s Teacher of the Year

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS Anatomy & Physiology Honors teacher Kelly Smith-Williams was named Manatee District 2022 Educator of the Year last night.

Out of 500 nominations, there were four finalists for the Excellence in Education Award.

Smith-Williams won the Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year award.

“This award means more to me than words can express, and I am tremendously grateful. It came as a shock, but is an incredible experience,” Smith-Williams said.

Photo: Kaitlyn Case
Williams addresses the awards ceremony

Excellence in Education Awards Selection Criteria stated, “The teacher of the year demonstrates a superior ability to foster excellence in education and contribute to the continuous improvement of student learning and the school environment.”

Smith-Williams aspired to be a teacher from the age of 14. She has been officially teaching for seven years but has worked at summer camps and after care programs since she was 16.

“What I love about teaching is seeing the students’ success stories. It’s just the most amazing part about teaching because you’re seeing more than just their knowledge, you’re seeing them grow as people,” she continued.

LRHS Principal Dustin Dahlquist said, “Kelly Smith-Williams is one of the most positive educators that I’ve ever come across.”

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She doesn’t just impact her classroom with Anatomy & Physiology students, she plays a role for all our students.”

Smith-Williams said, “I describe my teaching philosophy on the quote that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success, that students are imperfect humans and that there’s a teacher who believes, no matter what, that they can succeed.”