Back to School: Dustin Smith

Published 9:50 am Monday, August 3, 2015


Dustin Smith  Columbiana Middle School

Dustin Smith
Columbiana Middle School

Dustin Smith is a teacher at Columbiana Middle School, where he is involved in many extracurricular activities, including football, 7th grade scholars’ bowl and Relay for Life. Smith received a bachelor’s degree in biology and English and a master’s degree in secondary education, both from the University of Alabama. He and his wife, Jane Smith, who teaches a Wilsonville Elementary, live in Columbiana, with their two children, Addie and Grant.

Q: Why did you want to go into education?

A: My community rallied around me when I was battling leukemia, and I knew I wanted to give back.  My teachers were some of the most influential people in my life, and I believed that I could have the same positive influence on my students.  By educating them, I could ensure the prosperity of my community by helping to develop my students into informed leaders that would eventually lead my community.

Q: When were you a student at your current school?

A: 1998-2001

Q: What is your fondest memory of your current school, either as a teacher or student?

A: I had a student bake me cookies and write me a letter about her school year.  In the letter, she wrote that she enjoyed my class because it challenged her to think and problem solve.  I have the letter framed behind my desk … they were really good cookies too.

Q: What do you love most about your job? 

A: The students.  I learn something new every year from my students.  They are amazing, and I don’t think they hear that enough.

Q: What has teaching taught you? 

A: Everyone has a story, and everyone’s story deserves to be heard.  If I don’t take the time to listen to them, some of their stories will never be heard.

Q: If you could be present at any major historical event, what would it be and why?

A: If I could be at any major historical event, I would like to be present during the first Maundy Thursday.  During this time, Jesus participated in the ultimate act of humility by washing his disciples’ feet; he took on the role of the servant.  In truth, this how I see my role as a teacher.  Also, I would like to be present to hear the mandatum: to love one another as Christ did.

Q: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? 

A: Establish credit early, but be responsible.

Q: If you could meet any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

A: I would like to meet C.S. Lewis.  His writings completely changed the way I think and how I approach certain topics.

Q: What is the one place in the world you would like to visit and why?

A: I would like to go to Italy.  I’ve always appreciated the architecture and culture.