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Danielle Smith of Bush wins EXCEL Award for NEISD

Danielle accepts check.

Danielle Smith accepts her $1,000 check as the students cheer in the bleachers.

Danielle Smith of Bush Middle School was awarded the KENS 5/SACU Golden Apple ExCEL Award for North East ISD on Dec. 3. The award recognizes 19 teachers from each district in San Antonio for their unwavering dedication to educating young minds. The recognition comes with the golden apple trophy and a check for $1,000.

A teacher as dedicated as Smith has a finger on the pulse of her campus, so Principal Gary Comalander knew it would be hard to surprise her with the award—and he was right. When a last minute presentation from Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, superintendent of schools, was scheduled for the seventh grade students, Smith became a little suspicious.  Smith’s suspicions rang true as Debrorah Knapp of KENS 5 made the big announcement, calling her name out, which was echoed by a roar of excited students.


Smith was surprised to see this big banner hanging in the hallway after accepting the award.

Part of Smith’s teaching philosophy is to reach every student in her classroom. “They all learn at different paces and different methods,” said Smith.  “So I think as a teacher it’s important that we are versatile…using every tool possible to reach them.”

Smith has enjoyed a wave of professional successes since last school year. A 2013 Middle School and Secondary Teacher of the Year, the Texas History teacher serves as Academic UIL Coordinator and is the Campus Technology Committee Chair at Bush. Smith even had the opportunity to share the stage with Dr. Gottardy for convocation this past fall, where she demonstrated the “flipped” classroom method.

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Danielle Smith

Two of Danielle Smith's students happily hold up the ExCEL Award banner during her photo with Dr. Gottardy, Principal Comalander and SACU/KENS 5 representatives.

Students and Danielle

Her entire seventh grade history class got into the celebration too!


Posted on December 05, 2013