Beloved professor remembered for kind heart

Dr. Annette E. Smith, a beloved professor at South Plains College, is fondly remembered for her joyous spirit and kind heart.

Dr. Smith passed away November 11, 2018. A visitation was held on Nov. 13 at Lake Ridge Chapel and Memorial Designers in Lubbock. Family and friends also gathered to celebrate her life of 58 years on Nov. 14 in the Sundown Room of the Student Center at SPC in Levelland.

“I have never known a stronger or braver woman than Dr. Annette Smith,” said Dr. Gale Malone, Smith’s friend and supervisor. “She faced, with incredible courage, the most challenging of treatments, undergoing chemo or radiation in the morning, and then coming to campus to teach her classes in the afternoon during the fall 2017 and spring 2018… One of my favorite memories is her hugging a track student who had been up to the third floor of the Library for tutoring.  I heard her say that she knew he missed his momma, so she was going to give him a momma hug. They both had tears in their eyes.  It was just one of the sweet acts of kindness she showed her many students.”

Dr. Smith was born on April 3, 1960 in Waco, Texas. She graduated from Robert E. Lee High school and married Aaron Smith in Maui, Hawaii on March 16, 1992. Smith attended Midland College earning her Associates in General Studies. She then transferred to Texas Tech University and received her bachelors of Business Administrations and her Masters in Education. Smith had also recently received her doctorate from TTU.

She began teaching at South Plains College in 2005, serving as Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Associate of Arts in Teaching program.

“Dr. Smith was my advisor, professor, mentor, and friend,” said Amy McChesney-Hays, one of Smith’s former students. “Dr. Smith was so passionate about the Associate of Arts in Teaching program that she designed 14-plus years ago… This amazing woman not only taught me how to be a better teacher by teaching me how to make a lesson plan, but also how to listen, encourage others, to be fair, kind, and tough when I needed to be. She cared about the whole person, even if the student decided to pursue another path.”

“Dr. Smith ALWAYS put others before herself,” McChesney-Hays added. “Even arranging her medical treatments around her teaching schedule so that she wouldn’t miss class. She was a passionate woman who cared about her current, former, and future students…  Dr. Smith has touched so many lives by helping to create caring teachers who are passionate about teaching and passionate about changing the lives of others. I will miss her tremendously!”

Dr. Smith was a member of many professional organizations, as well as being Section Chair for the Associate of Arts in Teaching with the Texas Community College Teachers Association (TCCTA). She was also a founding member and officer of TCCTA and had been recognized for her excellence in teaching. Dr. Smith also was an active member of the Rotary International in Levelland, Texas.

“Mama Smith was one of the most remarkable women I’ve ever met,” said Katy Crutcher, another one of Smith’s former students. “She took time out of her day to help ANYONE who needed it. One of the things I always remember her saying is that “Your students will work their hardest to rise to the expectations that you set for them.” I always try to remember this in my classroom and push my students to be the best they can be, just as she did for ALL of her students. She definitely left a mark on my heart, and I will be forever grateful for everything she did to help me become the teacher I am today.”

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