In Memory of EPS Educator, June Smith

June Smith passed from this earth on June 10, 2019 after having lived 94 full years of life. Throughout her lifetime, education was something that she held in high regard - for herself and others. Her father had graduated from the Oklahoma Normal School (now UCO) with a teaching license around 1910 and taught public school briefly near Comanche, OK. June followed the teaching path as well and received a degree in Business Education from the University of Oklahoma in the 1940s. 

However, after moving to Edmond with her husband and daughter in 1961, she realized that elementary education would be her calling. She became re-certified through Central State and received her master’s in Elementary Education from there as well. June spent twenty-one wonderful years teaching first grade at Orvis Risner Elementary from 1967-1987. She adored her time there and always spoke highly of her colleagues and administration. Her students were always held to very high standards and treated with the utmost respect. For June, teaching a child to read was one of life’s greatest thrills and she often reflected on how her classes grew to be a big “family” throughout the school year. 

In addition to being a caring and impactful teacher, she was also somewhat of a renegade for her time by becoming the first female teacher in Edmond to wear pants to work. It was obvious to her that teaching first grade required a bit more flexibility with one’s wardrobe! She also strongly advocated for the use of phonics and even at the end of her life, she loved to remind us that “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking."  

Lastly, June recognized the great legacy held by Edmond Public Schools as one of the finest districts in the state and a consistent recipient for many national recognitions of excellence. She was always an advocate for the needs of students and teachers and even maintained interest and passion during the Oklahoma Teacher Walkout in 2018. It would be an honor to her memory to have donations made toward the Edmond Public Schools Foundation.

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