Gore Bay teacher Dan Smith awarded by Rainbow Board

Dan Smith appears with C.C. McLean basketball team

SUDBURY – Charles C. McLean Public School teacher Dan Smith has been teaching for 41 years, not a mean accomplishment for someone who is only 57 years old, but it is a testament to his lifelong commitment to education and sports that he was recognized by the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) with an Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program during a May 22 celebration.

“It is nice to be recognized for something you enjoy doing,” said Mr. Smith when contacted by The Expositor following the award announcements.

Rainbow District School Board Chair Doreen Dewar and Director of Education Norm Blaseg presented the awards and the ceremony “paid tribute to dedicated employees and community partners with the presentation of Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program, Community Partnership Awards, the Go Green Globe Awards, Awards for Excellence, the Barbara Konarek Memorial Award and the William N. Roman Teacher of the Year Award. Employees with 25 years of service were also recognized.”

“With the presentation of these awards, we continue a rich tradition of honouring excellence in Rainbow Schools,” said RDSB Board Chair Doreen Dewar. “We are proud of our employees and community partners for their commitment. On behalf of the Board, I would like to congratulate all award recipients for their outstanding achievement.”

“The contributions of our individual award recipients vary, but they all have one thing in common,” said Director of Education Norm Blaseg. “They are dedicated employees and dynamic educational partners who go above and beyond the call of duty to reach minds and touch hearts in our schools and the communities that we serve.” 

The citation for Mr. Smith read, “A respected teacher with the Board since 1995, Dan Smith is the epitome of leadership and dedication. Dan has a true love for sports and physical fitness and he values overall sport development in youth. More importantly, he recognizes that participation in sports has a positive influence on students, from physical, social and academic perspectives. Dan works diligently with students to help them apply the skills they learn in school, placing a strong emphasis on resiliency and commitment as the foundation for hard work and success. He also builds strong relationships with students, parents/guardians, colleagues and administrators. In his 24 years as an educator, Dan has coached and convened a variety of tournaments and teams including basketball, 3-pitch, flag football, volleyball, soccer, cross-country running and track and field. He also gives generously of his time to organize and train volunteers for sporting events, giving students access to a variety of opportunities. On a board-wide level, he has been a member of the Island Schools Sports Committee and a member at large on the SDSSAA’s (Sudbury District Secondary Schools’ Athletic Association) Executive and Transfer Committee for many years. For his exceptional leadership, Dan Smith is most worthy of an Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Co-Curricular Program.”

“One of the big things that I am very pleased about is that so many of our athletes have achieved elite status,” said Mr. Smith, noting that a significant number of RDSB records have been set by athletes from C.C. McLean. “Right now there are five records in track and field,” he said. “One 44-year record was broken by one of our Grade 8 girls. It is reflective of the kind of effort and work our students put in. That is something we are very proud of—some have gone on to provincial and national levels. It was not that long ago that I introduced one of our Grade 5 students to shotput—he placed third that first time out but the next year he was on top.” Mr. Smith was referencing athlete Joseph Maxwell whose outstanding varsity accomplishments are regularly chronicled in the pages of The Expositor and our sister publication the Manitoulin West Recorder.

“What I love about (extracurricular sports programs) is that the kids who advance to the elite levels never forget where they came from,” he said. “The come back to share their accomplishments with the next generation. They have a lifelong interest in being healthy and active.”

Mr. Smith, who has been teaching with the RDSB for 24 years now, is seeing the children of some of the students he taught at the beginning of his career coming into his class.

“It is generational,” he said of the love of active lifestyles. “They come in and share the stories of their own parents.”

Mr. Smith actually began his teaching career as a 16-year-old summer student working for a Sudbury school board’s summer athletics program. Truly, a lifelong commitment that has gone far above and beyond the norm.

Congratulations, Mr. Smith and thank you.