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Katrina Smith – Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science

It takes a special person to teach high school math. Mrs. Katrina Smith is more than a special teacher…she is exceptional. Mrs. Smith was my son’s 10th grade math teacher last year and she had such a big impact on him. Under Mrs. Smith’s guidance, my son excelled in math. His SAGE math scores improved more than 100 points from the previous year primarily due to her instruction. More than 80% of her students scored proficient on end of level testing this past year. She went above and beyond by holding extra math classes after school to help her students prepare for the ACT test. Mrs. Smith’s influence goes beyond test scores though. She teaches math in a way that students understand what they are learning. My son carried this knowledge far beyond the classroom and applied it to things he encountered in his everyday world. My son said Mrs. Smith was by far the best math teacher he has ever had.

Mrs. Smith has a thorough knowledge of the content she is teaching, but, more importantly, she knows and loves her students. She gets to know every single one of them. My son does well in school, but struggles at times with feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Mrs. Smith provided my son with a caring, nurturing environment that helped alleviate his anxiety and helped him adjust to a new school setting. Her communication with parents is also phenomenal. Many times I opened my inbox to see that she had sent me a personal email thanking me for my support and praising the growth she had seen in my son. On the last day of school, she handed every single student a hand-written, personal, heartfelt note of encouragement and love. That’s more than 100 notes. WOW!! Can you imagine the time and effort it took to write to that many students?

Mrs. Smith is one of those teachers we will never forget. So many teenagers need someone to believe in them and that is what Mrs. Smith does best. She cares about and loves her students and we love her too!
-Jodi Clark