Dustin Smith is a teacher at Columbiana Middle School, where he is involved in many extracurricular activities, including football, 7th grade scholars’ bowl and Relay for Life. Smith received a bachelor’s degree in biology and English and a master’s degree in secondary education, both from the University of Alabama. He and his wife, Jane Smith, who teaches a Wilsonville Elementary, live in Columbiana, with their two children, Addie and Grant.
Q: Why did you want to go into education?
A: My community rallied around me when I was battling leukemia, and I knew I wanted to give back. My teachers were some of the most influential people in my life, and I believed that I could have the same positive influence on my students. By educating them, I could ensure the prosperity of my community by helping to develop my students into informed leaders that would eventually lead my community.
Q: When were you a student at your current school?
Q: What is your fondest memory of your current school, either as a teacher or student?
A: I had a student bake me cookies and write me a letter about her school year. In the letter, she wrote that she enjoyed my class because it challenged her to think and problem solve. I have the letter framed behind my desk … they were really good cookies too.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: The students. I learn something new every year from my students. They are amazing, and I don’t think they hear that enough.
Q: What has teaching taught you?
A: Everyone has a story, and everyone’s story deserves to be heard. If I don’t take the time to listen to them, some of their stories will never be heard.
Q: If you could be present at any major historical event, what would it be and why?
A: If I could be at any major historical event, I would like to be present during the first Maundy Thursday. During this time, Jesus participated in the ultimate act of humility by washing his disciples’ feet; he took on the role of the servant. In truth, this how I see my role as a teacher. Also, I would like to be present to hear the mandatum: to love one another as Christ did.
Q: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
A: Establish credit early, but be responsible.
Q: If you could meet any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
A: I would like to meet C.S. Lewis. His writings completely changed the way I think and how I approach certain topics.
Q: What is the one place in the world you would like to visit and why?
A: I would like to go to Italy. I’ve always appreciated the architecture and culture.