Denise Smith is the new library media specialist at Chase County Schools, which includes the elementary annual. She is also the high school’s head softball coach. (Johnson Publications photo)

New media specialist a familiar face

    Denise Smith has signed on at Chase County Schools as the part-time library media specialist. She will also be in charge of the elementary school annual this year.
    Smith is originally from Anamosa, Iowa, where she graduated from high school in 1984. She then graduated in 1988 from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with  a double major in elementary education K-8, health and physical education K-12 including 7-12 coaching.
    She has been furthering her education by taking additional credits within her field of expertise plus continuing education classes to add a library endorsement.
    Smith began her teaching career in the Venango public school system in 1988. Between 1988 and 1994, she was a classroom teacher for fifth, sixth and seventh grades, as well as for kindergarten. In addition, Smith was the head coach for high school girls’ basketball.
    She then accepted a position in the Grant public school system as the high school volleyball coach from 1994 to 1996.
    In 1996, she and her husband, Gregg, a local farmer, made their home in Imperial.
    Smith has been applying her skills as Chase County’s head high school softball coach for the past 10 years.
    She has also coached basketball and volleyball and   volunteered her skills as a high school bowling coach and summer softball coach. For several years, she could also be seen on the court as a high school volleyball official.
    In addition to these activities, Smith has been a substitute K-12 classroom teacher since 1996.
    When asked how it is different going from a substitute to a certified position at Chase County Schools, she said that it gives her more of a feeling of belonging on a steady basis rather than off and on.
    “It’s nice to have the regular interaction with other certified teachers,” she said.
    Smith said that she really likes teaching because it keeps her connected with kids inside and out of school. She added that she has a bit of an advantage over new teachers because she has been around the school for many years, and she has gotten to know most of the students, and they know   her.
    Classroom teaching and coaching have their own dimensions, Smith said. And what she has found in the new position, working with students in the library, is that they are more focused on reading to enhance their classroom subjects and topics. This is something she wants to encourage, she added.
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