2020 Distinguished Educator: Cheryl Shifflet-Smith has ‘Love of Literacy, Learning and Growth’

Every year, Lapeer Community Schools, in cooperation with the District’s employee groups, recognizes the best of our staff. In lieu of our typical employee awards banquet, we will honor each award winner individually.

Cheryl Shifflet-Smith’s love of literacy was a design in her destiny from day one. Cheryl’s mother and grandmother were both educators in the District, and from an early age she understood teaching to be a profession unlike any other.

Her family instilled in her a passion and love of literacy, learning and growth that still burns bright today. And she’s always going to let it shine.

Cheryl, it seems, would love nothing more than for anyone who is interested in her teaching to walk in and take a seat. She’s willing to coach and to be coached. She’s just wants what’s best for kids.

“She invites coaches and other colleagues to observe her lessons, have conversations about students’ progress and collaboratively determine the next steps,” said one of Smith’s colleagues.

Another colleague said the number of students Cheryl has positively impacted is astounding, and it serves as an inspiration for teachers extending well beyond Turrill.

“Her ambition and dedication is something that I will continue to strive for throughout my career,” she said. “She is always willing to share her knowledge, resources and time with others.”

Among students and parents, Cheryl is extraordinarily popular, and it’s easy to understand why. She approaches each day with an enthusiasm for her craft that is attractive to learners at every stage.

“I’ve had the good fortune of having Mrs. Smith teach both of my daughters,” one parent said. “Mrs. Smith creates an environment students want to be in. She builds them up based on their strengths and helps them grow in their areas of opportunity.”

One of Cheryl’s teammates at Turrill echoed this sentiment. She has observed Cheryl’s success at meeting the needs of a diverse group of learners in a classroom tailored to growth as something achievable by all students.

“She treats her students with great dignity and respect, and has created a positive classroom environment that is student-centered and focuses on building positive self-esteem through high standards and well-designed instruction,” she said.

Cheryl has 32 years of teaching experience, and nearly 22 of those years have been in service to the students of Lapeer Community Schools in six different elementary buildings. During her time in Lapeer, she has participated in a staggering number of professional development opportunities, collaborations and presented on a multitude of topics at conferences across the state.

Cheryl is an expert teacher, a passionate advocate for Math Recovery, Reading Recovery and any strategy aimed at getting students interested in literacy at an early age. It should come as no surprise, however, that Cheryl has distinguished herself every bit as much outside the classroom as inside.

She has a passion for her Christian faith and a desire for others to experience it through selfless acts of service.

She has served as a minister to children, a foster parent and an organizer and laborer in missions work in impoverished areas around the world. She took her passion for education to Haiti, to provide professional development and training for over 500 Haitian school teachers. This is just one of many examples.

The same parent whose “good fortune” it was to have Mrs. Smith teach her children, said Cheryl is one of the first to arrive and last to leave. For her, teaching is a lifestyle more than a job.

“Mrs. Smith volunteered to come in early to work on reading with our daughter, something she did not have to do,” she said. “She also celebrates our daughter’s milestones with her and us, making our daughter eager to achieve more.”

For all the parents whose daughters and sons are better off for having been under her wing, and for the educators she has inspired throughout her career, we honor Cheryl Shifflet-Smith on behalf of a grateful school district.

Bolt Blog

One thought on “2020 Distinguished Educator: Cheryl Shifflet-Smith has ‘Love of Literacy, Learning and Growth’

  1. What a wonderful reflection on your teaching career, Cheryl! Congratulations! Your mom would have been so proud of you!

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