Ms. Smiley is excited to extend her role as part of the Maui Preparatory Academy `ohana as she joins us as the kindergarten teacher. A graduate of University of Tennessee at Knoxville, she received a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. Upon receiving her degree, she immediately began working in the unrelated field of education. Her career into education began by working with preschool children in Tennessee. On Maui, she has worked with preschool aged children at The Preschool at Kapalua for seven years, and briefly with Head Start in Lāhainā before working with Maui Prep in the kindergarten classroom. Over the years, Ms. Smiley has discovered a passion for early childhood education that spurned a desire to become more involved in the Maui community.
Ms. Smiley has actively served on the board for the Maui Chapter of the National Association for Education of Young Children for three years. As a board member Ms. Smiley has participated in several local functions to support and increase the capacity, skill, and awareness concerning young children for educators and families. She has also conducted multiple workshops on creating props to facilitate the learning of young children at conferences on Maui. Ms. Smiley plans to pursue conducting other workshops at state and national conferences, in addition to the work that she has done locally.
In her endeavors to increase her own understanding and abilities in working with young children, Ms. Smiley is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from The University of Hawaii – Mānoa. The program will provide her with a degree in Early Childhood Education with a concentration in Curriculum Studies. It is her hope to utilize the research she conducts to facilitate a love of learning in the children that she works with in the classroom. Ms. Smiley believes in helping young children develop through hands and mind on activities that encourage learning through developmentally appropriate methods.
Once she has completed the Master’s degree, Ms. Smiley is looking forward to renewing her personal passions: which are reading classic novels, baking, and swimming. However, until that time arrives, she is well content to put her time and energy in providing the children with a classroom environment that reflects the Maui Prep legacy of excellence. Ms. Smiley would like to thank everyone for making her feel so loved and welcomed, and endeavors to empowers others with the same support that she has received from Maui Prep: its students, families, and faculty. Mahalo nō kākou!