Faculty Spotlight: Sandy Smith

Associate Professor of Special Education Dr. Sandy Smith became interested in entering the education field after a high school teacher encouraged her to get involved in leadership activities. It was the teacher’s “love of teaching and support of her students” that inspired Smith to pursue a career in teaching.

Smith is from middle Tennessee, having lived most of her life in Overton County. She is fully committed to education, as she has earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Elementary Education, Master’s Degree in Special Education, and Education Specialist Degree in Reading from Tennessee Technological University. She received her Doctor of Education in Curriculum from Tennessee State University. She joined the Cumberland faculty in 2012.

At Cumberland, Smith enjoys having the opportunity to work with candidates who are passionate about teaching and are eager to learn. Smith’s own passion, along with that of her colleagues, has translated into a teacher preparation program that has earned an excellent reputation in Tennessee.

The first year employment rate for CU education program graduates is well above the state average – 73 percent for CU grads versus a statewide average of 66 percent in 2016.  CU education graduates are also more persistent than their peers. In 2016, 95.6% of them were retained by their employers while the statewide average was slightly lower at 94.4 %. Cumberland’s graduates get hired faster and remain in the profession longer – a testament to the dedication of Dr. Smith and her colleagues.

“We respect, care for and nurture our prospective educators. We try to create an environment where all our candidates have the opportunity to realize their potential and recognize the tremendous impact they can have on the world. We want them to create an environment where they, in turn, respect, care for and nurture their learners,” said Smith.