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El Dorado County Office of Education Celebrates Laura Smith with Excellence in Education Award

08:00 AM - May 13, 2024

In an inspiring celebration of dedication and service, the El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) recognized the exceptional contributions of Laura Smith at their annual Team Member Recognition event on May 7. Dr. Ed Manansala, El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools, presented the Excellence in Education award to Laura Smith, honoring her as an outstanding certificated team member.

Laura is a cherished figure in the educational community, exemplifying passion, resilience, and innovation throughout her career. Her journey began at California State University, Sacramento, where she earned her bachelor’s in psychology and multiple teaching credentials. Laura’s dedication to self-improvement and her commitment to child development have been evident since she started as a Student Assistant in EDCOE’s Extended Day Program in 1999.

Following notable positions, including serving as a Behavioral Technician specializing in working with children diagnosed with autism, Laura rejoined EDCOE in 2006. Her profound impact on the educational community began when she was promoted to a Teacher in the Rescue Elementary School Primary Autism class. 

Currently serving at the EDCOE program site Camino Upper, formerly named Winnie Wakeley, she continues to inspire students and colleagues with her innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Most recently, she collaborated on a classroom-based core board communication system adopted across multiple classroom programs, showcasing her ability to drive educational innovation.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we celebrate an exceptional member of our EDCOE family, whose dedication and commitment have profoundly impacted the lives of many students and families," Dr. Manansala remarked during the award presentation. "It is my personal honor to present this award for a certificated team member to the very deserving Laura Smith."

Laura’s work extends beyond the classroom. She mentors new teachers, particularly in Special Services, and fosters a collaborative and supportive learning environment. Her approach to education is described as being "all in" when supporting teaching and learning with passion, grace, and grit.

After accepting the award, Laura noted, “I would not be able to accept this award without the support and acknowledgment of my team, including the relationships I feel so fortunate to develop with my students and their families.” 

For her unwavering dedication, innovative teaching methods, and significant contributions to the lives of students with diverse needs, Laura Smith was celebrated with heartfelt applause by colleagues and the community. Her story is one of steadfast commitment and exceptional leadership in education.

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