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Southlake Style

RES Music Teacher Retires After 39 Years in Education

May 19, 2017 09:12AM ● By Audrey Sellers

On May 13, the Dragon community gathered at White’s Chapel UMC to sing the praises of Josie Smith. The beloved Rockenbaugh Elementary music teacher is retiring after 39 years in education to spend more time with her grandchildren. Smith’s current and former students, RESPECT choir members, parents, friends and colleagues gathered at a special open house to celebrate her career. Southlake Style asked Smith to reflect back on her years of teaching and share what she’s excited about in the next chapter of her life. 

Southlake Style: What have you enjoyed the most over your 39-year teaching career?

Smith: I’ve enjoyed trying to make a difference. I’ve taught several subjects during my career. Music has been the subject I’ve taught the longest. The joy of sharing what you are passionate about has made my job not a task, but a glorious gift to be passed on for hopefully years to come.

SS: How did it feel to be honored at your retirement celebration?

Smith: I was overwhelmed with the love and support from parents, current and former students, family friends, college friends and my wonderful family. I was surprised and so honored to have three former students that I taught back in 1980 show up. Two of them I had not seen in 35 years. I even had a precious grandmother fly in to see me. She always came for her two grandsons and granddaughter’s performances, and I was so thrilled she took time out for me. I was pleased to see so many kids who are not kids anymore. They are growing up to be the best, and I’m delighted to have been a small part of their lives.

SS: What are you looking forward to in the next chapter of your life?

Smith: I keep thinking I am going to slow down. I am not sure if that’s going to happen. My plans are to move to Lubbock and be with my daughters, their husbands and my grandson. I actually have another grandchild coming in July.

I am also planning to work with a church and their children’s music department. That’s a part-time position and will leave me some time to get re-acquainted with the city I left 11 years ago to move to DFW. Lots of great friends, former parents and students are waiting on me to get back quickly.

SS: Anything you’d like to say to Dragon families?

Smith: I have to first thank Russell Maryland  Many of you don’t know, but if it wasn’t for him and his committee doing “Digging for Dragons” in 2006, I would not be here. I also want to thank the administration at Carroll ISD. Trying to retire, sell a house, find a house, purge a house and pack a house has been the most challenging for me. I’m still working on it, but they were on my side and were very supportive. 

I must thank all of the teachers and staff members at Rockenbaugh Elementary. They, too, have shown me so much kindness and support during my journey. Finally, Carroll Dragon parents, grandparents and students: I thank you for your never-ending love and support. I know tradition is of the utmost importance. I want you to know that my husband, Coach Norm Smith and I will be Dragons forever.