HOUSTON, TX (May 29, 2019) – Mrs. Marlena Smith, a third-grade teacher at Yellowstone Academy, was recognized with the inaugural Marie Fay Evnochides Award during the school’s annual Spring awards ceremony earlier today.
Organized by the Marie Fay Evnochides Fund, this award will annually recognize teachers who are dedicated to fostering optimism, creativity, critical thinking and lifelong learning. The recognition comes with a $15,000 cash award given directly to the deserving teacher.
Nominations are made by current or former students who studied under the teacher for at least one year. Final selections are made by the Marie Fay Evnochides Fund’s Board of Directors.
“We are delighted to celebrate this fantastic award with Mrs. Smith!” said Ryan Dolibois, executive director of Yellowstone Academy. “Marlena is an incredible educator with a deep and abiding love for her students. She is more than deserving of such a great reward.”
A veteran educator, Mrs. Smith has been teaching in the Yellowstone Schools for ten years, and this recognition comes during a momentous time. 100% of Yellowstone’s 8th grade class of 2015, many of whom were in Mrs. Smith’s first third-grade class, are graduating from high school this spring. Many of these students have already enrolled in college or another post-secondary educational opportunity.
When asked to describe what she loves about teaching, Mrs. Smith responded, “I love seeing the smiles in the morning, I even love the challenging situations where I see the growth of students when they’re problem-solving. It gives them a voice and allows them to know that how they feel matters, what they think matters, and helps them develop a skill for the long term.”
Beloved by her students. Mrs. Smith keeps all of the notes, gifts, and tokens of affection they have given her over the years. “One of the coolest things about being a teacher is that you get to give treats, and you also get to get treats. Your students see that you are making a difference, and sometimes they choose to bless you.”
About Marie Fay Evnochides
In 1990, Marie Fay Evnochides founded a new private school on the grounds of her childhood home. The Fay School is a co-educational, not-for-profit, non-sectarian school, which educates children ages three to fifth grade, in an academically challenging, yet nurturing environment. In addition to serving as Founding Head of School, Marie taught early childhood students from 1991 to 2000.
After teaching preschool students for 45 years in independent schools, Marie Evnochides retired from The Fay School in July 2008. She continues to serve on boards for The Fay School and the Marie Fay Evnochides Fund, and lives in Houston with her husband of over four decades, Steve, and their daughter, Naomi.
About the Yellowstone Schools
Yellowstone Academy is a private, Christian school serving students in Pre-K through 4th grade. Yellowstone College Prep is a public, tuition-free charter school growing to serve students in 5th through 12th grade.
Together, the Yellowstone Schools are co-located on the same campus in the heart of Houston’s Third Ward community, where they serve nearly 500 students. The Yellowstone schools are committed to joining with students and their families, regardless of financial means, as they navigate an often difficult educational landscape. At Yellowstone, we inspire, empower, and invest in students to achieve their highest potential and fulfill their intended purpose.
Learn more at www.yellowstoneschools.org