Commack Road Teacher Smith Recognized for ‘Excellence’

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Commack Road second-grade teacher Brian Smith was recently named a “Teacher of Excellence” as part of a new initiative by State Sen. Phil Boyle in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week.

On May 5, Boyle hosted an inaugural Teachers of Excellence awards ceremony at the Bay Shore Fire Department, recognizing Smith and 14 other Long Island honorees that he called “our best and brightest teachers who deserve recognition for their dedication to preparing our children for the future.” 

“Mr. Smith encourages all students to have a voice in their learning,” said Commack Road Principal Jeanette Feminella. “Students are secure to take risks in their learning with Brian’s nurturing instruction in his classroom.”

Smith grew up in Stony Brook and was a member of Ward Melville High School’s Class of 1981. He graduated from Suffolk County Community College in 1983, worked as a systems analyst for the Grumman Corporation in Bethpage, and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Stony Brook University in 1992. While working at night for Automated Financial Systems in Lake Ronkonkoma, he attended Dowling College full-time, earning his master’s degree in elementary education from Dowling in 1999. Smith began his teaching career that year as a part-time instructional aide at Islip Middle School, followed by a stint as a teacher assistant and AIS provider at Commack Road from 2000 until 2002, when he was hired as a second-grade teacher at the school. He currently resides in Coram with his wife, Jennifer.

“I was honored to accept Sen. Boyle’s award and to represent Islip’s commitment to excellence in education,” said Smith. “By our very nature, we teachers don’t think about awards so much, as the rewards of our labors are reflected in the eyes of our students, but I am so grateful to Islip. As I tell every new class of parents at Meet the Teacher Night, no one is successful alone. My father admired teachers and he predicted, when I was as young as the students I teach, that I’d be a teacher one day. I attribute my success to the support of my family, friends and all the amazing teachers, staff and administrators I’ve come to know and love in Islip and at especially at Commack Road. Islip is like my second home and I thank the families of the children I’ve been proud to teach for welcoming me into their community and allowing me to do my best for them. They are truly the excellent ones.”