Smith to lead Western’s Teaching Fellows Program

CULLOWHEE – A former Graham County Teacher of the Year has been appointed to lead Western Carolina University’s Teaching Fellows Program for the next two years.

Jacqueline T. Smith

Jacqueline T. Smith

Jacqueline T. Smith of Robbinsville will serve as director of the university’s Office for Special Programs and Teaching Fellows while Carol Burton, the office’s director for the past 13 years, heads Western’s efforts to earn re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Smith graduated from Robbinsville High School in 1988 and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 1992. She earned a master’s degree in secondary education at Western in 1996, an education specialist degree in educational leadership at Western in 2002, and is currently enrolled in the university’s doctoral degree program in educational leadership.

Smith held teaching positions in schools in Graham and Cherokee counties from 1993 to 2000, and from 2000 to 2004 served as a seventh-grade teacher and assistant principal at Andrews Middle School. Most recently, Smith served as a lead mentor for Project SPACE (Supporting Pedagogical and Content Expertise), a program in which Western partnered with five local public school systems to broaden the knowledge and skills of teacher mentors and improve the teacher retention rate.

About 80 Teaching Fellows are currently enrolled in Western’s teacher education program. Recipients of the state-sponsored scholarship receive $26,000 to pay for their college educations. In return, they must agree to teach a minimum of four years in the state’s public schools after graduation.

Western was one of the original nine state universities chosen to host the Teaching Fellows Program when it began in 1987.

For more information about Western’s Teaching Fellows Program, contact Smith at (828) 227-7056 or by e-mail at