National Writing Project


Barbara Smith

National Writing Project at Kent State University

Barbara Smith is a language arts teacher with 35 years of classroom experience. The first seven years of her teaching career were spent in classrooms in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—the Gateway and Norwin school districts. For the past 28 years, she has taught middle school students in the Western Reserve Local Schools, a small, rural district in Mahoning County in Northeast Ohio. Approximately one-third of the fifth and sixth grade students Barbara currently teaches are children of her former students, providing a rich, unique perspective of an intergenerational aspect of students and families in the school community.

Since first stepping into a classroom as a teacher in 1967, professional development has been an important part of Barbara's life. She describes her participation in the summer institute of the National Writing Project and her continued association with this organization as the most influential teacher development opportunity in which she has engaged. Selected other activities and achievements include participation in a five-week National Endowment for the Humanities seminar; service as the author/contact person and teacher/leader of a $250,000 school restructuring grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Education; a Martha Holding Jennings Scholarship; membership on county-wide course-of-study committees in technology and in language arts; service as a teacher liaison for the regional implementation of a new state model of language arts instruction; membership on several advisory committees, including the regional board of the initial statewide mentoring program for first year teachers; and presentations at numerous regional, state, and national conferences.

Barbara earned a BS degree from California State College in California, Pennsylvania, a MS from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and is currently working on a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at Kent State University. One of the courses she is presently taking is statistics so that she can better participate in the scientific study of the growth of student writers. Barbara is a National Board Certified Teacher and a teacher-consultant for the National Writing Project at Kent State University.

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