Lindsay Smolka Receives 2013 Connecticut River Academy Teacher of the Year Award
Spanish teacher Lindsay Smolka embodies what it means to be a leader and a mentor to the students at the Connecticut River Academy at Goodwin College.
“I’m always trying to make things more exciting. A teacher means being supportive and letting students guide what they want to learn. It’s about being a facilitator.”
Highly respected by students and teachers alike, Smolka is very involved at the magnet high school in East Hartford.
“The students love her. She is just a phenomenal teacher and is always willing to help out and do whatever it takes to make our school successful,” said Timothy Kessler, Vice Principal of the Connecticut River Academy.
Smolka emphasizes building relationships and teaching life before content.
“The students have so much support and it’s really important to understand that school is not just about the report card or being the best in your class, it’s about experiences and how you translate them into adulthood.”
Down-to-earth, straightforward, and kind, it’s easy to see how Smolka is able to build strong relationships with her students.
“The students are my everything. They drive me to be a better educator and a better person in general. And the staff is amazing. The only reason I’m in this position is because of the support from everybody.”
The Connecticut River Academy serves students from over 25 towns across Connecticut and works to prepare its diverse student body for further educational opportunities. The faculty and staff at CTRA work to create a school climate conducive to learning with the promotion of positive behavior.
Smolka, who obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Political Science from Central Connecticut State University, went on to achieve her Master’s degree in Secondary Education. After spending a year teaching at East Hartford High School she was given the opportunity to help open the Connecticut River Academy Magnet School.
“I was looking for a school that had a diverse population, technology, and a large focus on post-secondary education. CTRA offered all of those things,” Smolka said.
Smolka recalled wanting to pursue a teaching degree because she hoped to be like some of her former teachers.
“Without them I wouldn’t have made it through high school or college. I wanted to make the same impact on others that they made on me.”
“Everyone at CTRA is extremely hard working and I’m really excited to be recognized by my peers. I’m so honored to share this award with Jennifer Ingalls, CTRA Math teacher, and Kelly Falvey, CTRA Social Studies teacher.”
By: Hannah Stacy