NEW CUMBERLAND-To say that Hancock County's 2015 Teacher of the Year is an English teacher is to simplify matters greatly.
Betty Smith does teach English at Weir High, but over the course of her 36-year career, she also has taught Japanese 1, 2 and 3, sign language 1, 2 and 3, journalism, civics, world history and basic math skills, as well as courses on digital imaging, multimedia, Web design, game design and ACT/SAT preparation.
On Wednesday, after being named Teacher of the Year, she ticked off the list of classes and stopped only because she couldn't remember the rest. Smith was chosen from among 10 nominees representing all 10 schools in the county.
"I didn't expect this," she said. "It means a lot because the people on the selection committee are my peers."
A native of Japan, Smith grew up in Marion County and has spent about 30 years of her teaching career in Hancock County, dividing much of her time between Oak Glen High School and Weir High. In 2000, she was named Teacher of the Year as a representative of Oak Glen.
The biggest changes in the intervening years, she said, involve the use of computers and other forms of technology in the classroom. Smith helped get grant funding for some of the first classroom computers in 1999, she said.
"Now we have technology in every classroom, which is exactly what I wanted," she said. "I feel this is a vindication of what I've wanted all along."
Superintendent Suzan Smith cited Betty Smith for her "love of children, flair for creativity and fascination with different cultures. ... In technology, she utilizes Google Drive for students to create, collaborate and share their work in many ways. She is a strong advocate of equipping our schools with state-of-the-art education technology and connecting all students to the vast resources available in cyberspace."
Weir High Principal Dan Enich said, "She does a great job. It's very well-deserved."
Suzan Smith also cited the other nominees, who were:
* Rachelle Jenkins of Allison Elementary School in Chester;
* Rose Mary Morris of Broadview Elementary in Weirton;
* Donna Carnes of Liberty Elementary in Weirton;
* Brittany Cook of New Manchester Elementary;
* Angela Myers of Weirton Heights Elementary;
* Velda Icard of Oak Glen Middle School;
* Amy Porreca of Weir Middle School;
* Jeanne Roberts of Oak Glen High School; and
* Joan Murray of the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center