SEQUIM — Warning: The story of Miss Smith, as she is called by her students, is rife with joy and punctuated by pain.
Sandy Smith, a teacher at the Sequim Alternative School, is high school Educator of the Year.
She received the honor — which comes with a certificate, no cash — at the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives conference on March 1.
The statewide award capped a 38-year career in the Sequim School District, where Smith started out as a sixth-grade English instructor.
She now teaches integrated science and career planning to teens who’ve opted out of the mainstream high school.
Last April, Smith was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The usually fatal disorder destroys nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and has had an impact on Smith’s speech.
It’s hard to say who’s more inspirational when talking about “Miss Smith;” The people she calls “my kids,” or the woman herself.