Dr. Betsy Smith has been an educator for 30 years; 11 as teacher, 5 as assistant principal and 14 as principal. Three words have guided her in making the choices in life and have become her personal mission statement: simple, fun, vibrant!
Learning something new every day has been a primary goal in life as she has continually furthered her education throughout her professional career. Dr. Smith received her Bachelor, Master, and Educational Specialist degrees from Livingston University (University of West Alabama), her Administration Certification from the University of Montevallo, her Certification in Gifted Education from the University of South Alabama. and Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Samford University.
Dr. Smith's education career began as a first grade teacher at Greensboro Elementary School. She continued her rise in education after teaching sixth grade at Forest Hills Middle School, second grade at Elsanor School (Robertsdale), first grade and assistant principal at Chelsea Elementary School, gifted education teacher at Columbiana Middle, Wilsonville Elementary and Shelby Elementary schools; principal at Shelby Elementary and, for the last ten years, principal at Elvin Hill Elementary School.
Dr. Smith and her husband Darin have five children and two grandchildren. They enjoy spending time with their family, working in the shop, sitting in the sun reading by their pool, and taking long walks on their ten acre farm. Dr. Smith is a certified trainer for 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and she lives by those habits daily. Her favorite book is "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voscamp which has helped her learn to appreciate and be thankful for everything in life.
Dr. Smith's philosophy of education can best be said in her own words:
I believe every child can learn and be a leader. We must find the gifts inside each child and help develop those gifts. I believe in active learning and helping children think and talk about learning. Every child that walks through Elvin Hill Elementary School's doors is a precious gift."
Christy Kearley has been an educator for 20 years. Her career began as a K-5 special education teacher with Pell City Schools at Coosa Valley Elementary. After six years there, she transferred to Eden Elementary where she served as a K-5 special education teacher and as an itinerate teacher for the K-12 Hearing Impaired program in Pell City. After that time, Mrs. Kearley came to Shelby County where she has spent the last 13 years at Elvin Hill Elementary as a special education teacher.
Mrs. Kearley believes learning is a life-long process. She received her Bachelor and Educational Specialist degrees and her Administration Certification from the University of Montevallo, her Master Degree from UAB, and she is currently pursuing her Doctorate at Samford University.
Mrs. Kearley, her husband Stephen, and their two sons live in Columbiana. They enjoy spending time together baking, hiking, traveling, and running obstacle races and half marathons.
Mrs. Kearley’s personal philosophy of education is:
As an educator, I strive to see each child not as he or she is now, but as the person he or she has the potential to become and to do everything within my power to help each one realize that potential.”