Faulkner Lifestyle September 2019 Issue

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education

Grace Smith, Community

Liaison Coordinator for

Conway Public Schools

BY LINDSEY JONES

PHOTOS BY BRANDY STRAIN-DAYER

Grace Smith was born and raised in

San Pedro Sula, Honduras with a

population of less than 700,000.

She and her three siblings were enrolled

in a K-12th bilingual school, thanks

to her parents. Grace’s childhood was

happy, loud, and fun. Until Grace moved

to Arkansas, Honduras was home.

After high school, she studied Psychology

in undergrad. She knew she wanted to

work with people and helping others.

After college, she was offered a job in a

bilingual school as the school psychologist.

It was there that she discovered

her true calling—she wanted to work in

the education world. She pursued her

Master’s Degree in Education and in the

same school where she began, started

teaching middle and high school students

Psychology and Character Education.

In 2008, a handsome southern man swept

Grace off of her feet, and they were

married. She moved to Arkansas with her

husband Mark that summer. Grace began

substitute teaching in Conway in 2010.

A year later, she signed her contract with

Conway Public Schools as the Community

Liaison Coordinator.

Mark and Grace have a sweet and

charming first grade daughter, Gia, and

a cuddly and adventurous preschool

son, Ryan. For fun, their family enjoys

being outdoors and attending New Life


Language is not a barrier when you want to

communicate that you TRULY care. Kids SEE that

you care and they FEEL that you care. You can see

their faces light up. When this happens, everything

you have done has ALL been worth it.


—Grace Smith

Church. Grace is also a board member

for Conway Cradle Care.

Grace says her journey has been

fabulous. She gets to speak her beautiful

native Spanish language every day while

working with the “courageous, resilient,

hardworking Spanish speaking families

in this community.” Grace shared with

me that she is blessed and honored to

work with the fantastic team of teachers

and school staff in this wonderful

diverse district. “The CPSD staff are

gracious and are always patient with

me, as I work districtwide – serving all

16 schools, preschool included.” Grace

is constantly on the go, visiting all of

the Conway campuses. She loves seeing

teachers and staff genuinely care for our

Conway kids each day.

A typical day in the life of Grace

Grace translates written documents for

all schools. It is very important that all

families receive communication from

their child’s school they can understand,

and Grace makes sure that our Spanish

families get that information. She also

provides verbal interpretation during

conferences and different meetings.

She makes sure families’ concerns

are addressed: from small things like,

folders being checked daily, to parents’

input and opinions heard during an

important decision in a conference. It

is Grace’s goal to make sure Conway

Public Schools establishes a solid school

and home relationship. Grace makes

sure Spanish-speaking families have a

voice and a say in their children’s school

life. Grace loves to witness the love

between a student and school staff,

because it goes past language.

What Grace wants you to know

Language is not a barrier when you want

to communicate that you TRULY care.

Kids SEE that you care and they FEEL

that you care. You can see their faces

light up. When this happens, everything

you have done has ALL been worth it.

Work becomes challenging when

children have limited resources and a

difficult home life. “Conway is caring,

and you see kindness demonstrated

every day, everywhere – I am forever

thankful for this,” she says. “From

sending a parent or a student a positive

note, a smile, a special sticker, a sweet

hug, etc. It is the small things that “my”

families love and keeps them involved

in their children’s education life. I

encourage everyone in this community

to make a difference by spreading love,

by being inclusive, and keep being kind

and caring no matter what.”

If you are a Spanish speaking family

new to Conway, please be sure to

reach out to Grace if you have not

already. She wants nothing more

than to help you settle into this

wonderful school life that we

have in here Conway, Arkansas.

robin stauffer | owner & art director

501.730.6725 | conway, ar

18 faulkner lifestyle | september 2O19 faulknerlifestyle.com 19