Forsyth Tech Instructor named North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year

Melissa Smith

Forsyth Tech Community College is proud to announce that Melissa Smith, Program Coordinator for the MRI program, has been named the 2022 NC Faculty Member of the Year.

This prestigious honor was awarded to Smith after competing with the other 57 NC community college nominees throughout the state.

Smith, an alumna of Forsyth Tech, has taught at the college for 11 years and has impacted her students, fellow faculty members, and staff over that time. Throughout her tenure, she has exemplified the highest quality and standards of instruction for her students. She consistently strives to promote learning, equity, program completion and positive post-graduation outcomes.

Smith works to bring the best to her students on all fronts and accounts. Here are quotes from some of her students’ evaluations: “She is awesome!” “Mrs. Smith strives to keep us goal-oriented while understanding other aspects of life take up our time.” And, “Mrs. Smith is great! She is very kind and understandable. You can tell she really cares about her students.” When asked what information they will take from this class that will benefit them in the future, one student simply responded, “Everything.”

State Board member Ann Whitford said, “We interviewed five extraordinary faculty members from across the state for this award, but Melissa’s passion and love for her students was exceptional and so very special to see.”

Smith has been an exemplary professional, working collaboratively to get the best outcomes for her students. She has worked with admissions and examined best practices to increase the diversity of cohorts in the MRI Program, utilized games and creative assignments to keep her students engaged, stayed abreast of new teaching methods, and constantly strives to strike the difficult balance of empathy and professionalism with her students.

Tamara Beck, Associate Dean of Imaging, Health Sciences, said, “It is her genuine ability to connect with students holistically that provides them with the necessary motivation and resources to fulfill their educational goals and transform their lives.”

The success of the MRI Program at Forsyth Tech, which has had 100% pass rates for the post-graduate American Registry of Radiology Technologists MRI Registry three times in the last nine years, is most certainly connected to Smith’s dedication, work ethic and creativity.

The official award, the Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by R.J. Reynolds, was established by the State Board of Community Colleges in 1985. This Award provides statewide recognition of faculty members who exemplify the highest quality and standards of instruction throughout the NC Community College System (NCCCS).

As a finalist, Smith was guaranteed to win $500 along with a certificate. The NCCCS Selection Committee interviewed her and she was selected as the winner by the NC Community College System Board of Trustees! Smith will receive $8,000, and the Forsyth Tech Foundation will receive $2,000 and a recognition plaque.

“I could not be more proud of Melissa,” said Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech. “She represents all of us with excellence, energy, and excitement – a true Trailblazer and now, an Excellence in Teaching state award winner — we are truly lucky to have Melissa on our team and in our Forsyth Tech family.”