It is with great pleasure that the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) acknowledges Frances Smith, a teacher at Washington-Parks Academy, as one of the recipients of the 2023 Elementary School English Teacher of the Year Award.

With an illustrious 33-year career in education, Smith has worn various hats, including classroom teacher, assistant principal, interim principal, Title I facilitator, academic dean, and literacy coach. Her initial passion for education was driven by a desire to share knowledge and explore the world with students. However, her true calling became evident when she realized her mission was to instill a love for reading in her students. Smith’s dedication to this cause extends to her family and friends who generously donate chapter books to her classroom each month to ensure her students have access to quality reading materials.

Throughout her teaching journey, Smith has remained steadfast in her commitment to making a profound impact on the lives of the children she encounters daily, emphasizing that reading can open doors to the world. Learning of her receipt of this award left her astounded, as she views it as recognition for the work she passionately loves. She is especially grateful for this honor, which aligns with her deepest passions: English and reading.

The MCTE Elementary English Teacher of the Year Award is a testament to Smith’s outstanding contributions to elementary literacy education. Nominees for this award exemplify unwavering dedication to cultivating a nurturing and respectful learning environment that promotes effective teaching and learning. These educators employ diverse teaching methodologies and innovative learning experiences to cater to the diverse needs of all students. Their lessons are marked by creativity and delivered with a unique perspective on language arts instruction. Candidates for this award also actively contribute to the profession at the local, state, or national level through leadership, presentations, or publications.

Frances Smith will serve as the Elementary English Teacher of the Year for the current school year and will be celebrated at the spring conference of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English in March 2024.

About MCTE:

Established in 1922, the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) serves as the state affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English, uniting K-16 English language arts educators. MCTE is dedicated to offering professional development opportunities to English language arts teachers and English education professors throughout Michigan. The organization’s objectives include the dissemination of current English education scholarship and providing valuable support to English language arts teachers as they navigate pedagogical practices, student needs, and teaching philosophies. To learn more about MCTE, visit their website at