Sydney Smith, CEHD Alumna and Education Advocate
BY DAWN ANGELIQUE ROBERTS for TEMPLE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
When Sydney Smith, EDU '23, stepped on campus as a first-year student, she was already a familiar face to faculty and staff in the College of Education and Human Development. Smith was in the first cohort of the Temple Education Scholars (TES) program.
TES is a year-long dual enrollment program designed for college-bound high school seniors to take up to five education courses at Temple University in a supportive environment. This program prepares students for future employment as educators within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
"Joining TES made me really realize that I wanted to be a teacher," Smith said.
Smith, a TES alumna and tutor-mentor and a recent Temple graduate, will be in the classroom this fall as a first-time teacher at John Moffett Elementary School. She will teach second grade, a grade she has experience with. "A match made in heaven," Smith commented.
Teaching at John Moffett Elementary School is an excellent opportunity for Smith, having served as a student teacher there during her senior year.
"Being comfortable in the space and knowing that I already enjoy working at that school with the students and staff is something really special," Smith said.
In addition to teaching, Smith sees herself as an advocate. Smith and one of her mentors, Juliet Curci, assistant dean of college access and persistence at Temple University College of Education and Human Development, recently participated in a press conference in Philadelphia and traveled to Harrisburg in support of Senate Bill 300, legislation proposed by Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Hughes to address the teacher shortage and offer student teachers in PA a stipend during their 12-week full-time (currently unpaid) experience.
Smith is passionate about advocating for recruiting and retaining more teachers in Pennsylvania, stipends to student teachers, and diversifying the teaching population.
A first-generation college graduate, Smith credits her experience in TES and mentors like Curci and Samantha Kimmel, assistant director of continuing education at Temple University and former TES program coordinator, for her success in college. She encourages TES scholars and incoming students to pat themselves on the back, breathe, and take advantage of the opportunities and resources TES and the College of Education and Human Development offer.
"Sydney has been a driven and motivated young educator since her first day with TES. While she has grown in many ways, I think we all knew Sydney was destined to change Philadelphia's education landscape since I met her as a Girls High senior in 2018," Kimmel said.
"She believes in individuals, and she believes that educators have the power to make a better tomorrow - and they do, despite the adversity they are faced with daily. Beyond pursuing a challenging yet rewarding career, Sydney is also an advocate for teacher education and regularly speaks about the importance of diversifying the teacher workforce, especially in our city. She is an inspiration to all, and I am immensely proud of all she has achieved."
Juliet Curci shared, "Sydney exemplifies what it means to be a servant leader. She has willingly embraced the opportunity to help young people thrive, academically and personally, in her decision to be a teacher and her willingness to be a role model and advocate."
"I am incredibly proud of all of Sydney's accomplishments and grateful for her commitment to her students, Philadelphia, and the profession, as well as her advocacy efforts. I can't wait to visit her classroom, support her, and cheer her on through this next school year," Curci added.
As for future goals, Smith plans to continue teaching in the School District of Philadelphia and pursue a master's degree after gaining more experience in the classroom.