JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Town Acres Elementary teacher Dr. Angie Smith has been with the Johnson City Schools system her entire career, and her tireless dedication is what makes her stand out as the latest Educator of the Week.

Smith spent the first part of her teaching career at Lake Ridge Elementary and has been at Towne Acres for the last two years.

Smith said she actually hoped to become a marine biologist growing up, but teaching always came back to her mind. Her passion for teaching eventually led her to the classroom, where she has had a generational impact.

“I love to teach because the kids just energize me, and I just love what I do and I love making a difference in their lives,” Smith said.

Smith’s enthusiasm is apparent the moment students enter her fourth-grade classroom.

“I try to create a family-like environment,” Smith said. “I want them to know I’m like their second mom. I feel like if I develop that relationship with them, I’m going to be able to impact them greater academically.”

Towne Acres Principal Dr. Josh Simmons told News Channel 11 that Smith’s love for her children is tremendous.

“Dr. Smith brings a love for children,” Simmons said. “The thing about her every teacher wants kids to learn. Dr. Smith wants her students to enjoy the experience of learning.”

Smith said she particularly enjoys teaching children to read.

“When you have a kid who comes to you and their parents are saying ‘How do I get them to read?’ and over the course of time, eventually the magic unlocks,” Smith said. “And that’s my favorite part because I love when parents come back to me years later and say ‘You’re the reason my kid likes to read now. You’re the reason my kid had a turning point in their education.'”

Smith has found her purpose and enjoyed molding those young minds for 23 years and counting.

“I just love what I do,” she said. “To me, it’s fulfilling. This is my purpose.”