Inside ECS- Jody Smith

Jody Smith’s first experience with Elkhart Community Schools started in a Kindergarten class at Mary Beck Elementary School. Jody would spend the next 6 years as a Beck Baron, two years at Pierre Moran Middle School and four at Elkhart Memorial High School. Jody is a proud graduate of Elkhart Community Schools, along with her husband and children.

While working as an interior designer, Jody decided to take a position within Elkhart Community Schools as a paraprofessional. It is during this experience she discovered her passion for teaching. Following the adoption of her daughter, Jody took a year off and then spent the next the next 6 years as a part time student at IUSB. Her goal was clear: Jody wanted to be a teacher.

While attending IUSB, one of her professors worked as a teacher for Mary Beck Elementary School. This led Jody to a student teaching position at Mary Beck, which led to a full time teaching position. Jody was back where she started – as a Mary Beck Baron. She began as a general education elementary teacher, but later discovered her passion as an art teacher. Jody now has eleven years of teaching behind her, including 4 years as an art teacher at Mary Beck and the last year at Osolo Elementary. This year is a little different for Jody, as this is the first year she is dedicated to just one school. This dedication has given her the opportunity to bring her personal artistic passions into her curriculum.

In addition to art, one of Jody’s biggest passions is reading, something she creatively incorporates into her art class. “I like to use reading to help teach art curriculum through literacy,” she says. “Any experience with literacy will benefit our children.” Jody regularly includes reading to inspire classroom projects.

Over the years Jody has had many wonderful moments as a teacher, but she was recently very touched by a card given to her by a fifth grade student. The card read, “If I ever become an artist, I will come to you and thank you. I learn so many things, I love everything you teach me and you are my favorite teacher. -Ayla” As a teacher, moments like this stick with Jody and she hopes to bring an appreciation for art to all of her students. Jody really enjoys teaching at the elementary level, experiencing the students’ humor and experiencing the joy of seeing them learning new things.

While not at work, Jody enjoys water activities, reading, gardening, watching movies with friends and family, or hunting heart shaped rocks along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Thank you, Jody, for sharing your passions with Elkhart Community Schools students!