My name is Julie Smith. I and my husband Larry have been Byers residents for over 31 years. We have 5 children and 3 grandchildren. I grew up in a small town called Indianola, Nebraska. Which is similar to the town of Byers.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver (2003), and a Master’s of Education in Special Education from Grand Canyon University (2006). I am currently working towards my Doctorate in Education through Grand Canyon University (projected completion in 2018).
I have 24 years of experience working with children, including foster care, a special needs bus driver, paraprofessional duties and as an educator, among other roles. I developed an interest and passion for Special Education when my oldest son faced his own learning challenges. His determination lead me down a road less traveled teaching me compassion, resiliency and the ability to be a proactive advocate. I use my personal experience to relate with parents and students, providing them both with a positive outlook on education overall.
In the beginning of my career, I developed, from the ground up, a middle school special education program at a local rural school district on the Plains of Colorado. While in this position I also co-facilitated a restorative practices/behavioral group that proved to be successful. Then there was a change in family dynamics that caused a shift in careers, allowing me to expand my knowledge and became employed by one of the first K-12 Online Schools in Colorado. Here I taught at-risk students self-determination and organizational skills, while discovering that not all students can learn in a traditional setting. After nine years, I was offered a position as a Special Education Coordinator in a nearby brick-n-mortar school, thinking I could use a change. However, half way through the school year I realized my passion was with students in the virtual world. After completing the school year I took a position that meets both worlds, where students receive 60% virtual online and 40% direct face-to-face off line academics. This is a perfect balance for myself and those students that learn best in this type of setting.
I stay busy working outside in the garden during the warmer months and crocheting and jewelry making during those times of inclement weather. Other hobbies I enjoy consist of; classic car shows, stock car racing, traveling and camping. In addition, I am proud to be a Native American from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. I look forward to this new journey as a School Board Member working toward the better good of students and support my fellow teachers in hopes to impact the future of all those involved.