Influencer of the Week: Latanya Webb-Smith, Citrus Elementary

Latanya Webb-Smith is a kindergarten teacher at Citrus Elementary.

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  • | 1:28 p.m. August 28, 2019
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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It takes a special teacher to make a difference in a student’s life, and that is exactly what Orange County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year award recognizes. At Citrus Elementary, kindergarten teacher Latanya Webb-Smith earned the accolade this year. Webb-Smith has been with OCPS for 13 years and is in her fourth year teaching at Citrus.


What do you love most about your school? 

I love my students and my colleagues. They make the day, from sweet little greetings from the children to the words of encouragements and help from all of the staff members, teachers, office and cafeteria staff. I cannot forget the awesome custodial staff — they help with everything. They even keep me from being locked in when I stay late.

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

This is not a job — it is a lifestyle. When teachers are not in the classroom, we are preparing for being in the classroom. When shopping, items we see remind us of the things we need and want to do to enrich the students. I love when I see a student succeed. That is what it is really all about.

What made you want to take on this challenge? 

I grew up in a low socioeconomic neighborhood, and I had two teachers who spoke life to me. They provided keys that opened the doors; they taught me how to read the maps of life. I want to do the same for others. So I teach.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best? 

My past and their future. It drives me in each classroom, grade level and academic school year.

What’s the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you? 

There have been so many things. It is hard to name just one — from (having them) helping when I scratched my car on a pole to standing in during a crisis. Recently, I shared my love of coin banks with my class. For Christmas one of my students gave me her own little bear bank, with the few coins still inside. Such love!

What is the coolest place you have visited and why? 

It would have to be the Grand Canyon. Nature is magnificent all by itself.                                                 

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? 

I already have one — I teach. Very few touch as many lives as we teachers touch.

Do you have any pets? What kind, and what are their names? 

I had a pet fish. He has swum off into eternity.

If you could see any musician, band or artist live, who would it be and why? 

I wouldn’t want to see anyone special. People are people — I would, however, love to see another Broadway show.


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