Teacher Tuesday: Victory Early Childhood Center’s Kim Marrison and Sally Smith

September 29, 2020

Teacher Tuesday: Victory Early Childhood Center’s Kim Marrison and Sally Smith

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, www.shelbystatebank.com.

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

VICTORY TOWNSHIP – Teamwork has been Kim Marrison and Sally Smith’s number one priority while teaching at Mason County Central’s Victory Early Childhood Center. VECC offers 3-year-old and 4-year-old Montessori preschool, 4-year-old Great Start Readiness preschool program and wrap-around extended child care. Combined, Marrison and Smith have been teaching at VECC for over 25 years.

Sally Smith

“I have been in education for 19 years,” Smith said. “I began my teaching career at MCC working as an educational assistant at Riverton Elementary (which is no longer operating). I worked in that position for a half a year, then moved into a long-term substitute teaching position and ended the year as a one-on-one instructional aide. I worked at Riverton for two more years as a one-on-one before the special education classroom was moved to Scottville Elementary where I finished out the year. I now work at Victory Early Childhood Center where I have worked for 17 years teaching the Great Start Readiness Program preschool. While at VECC I have taught GSRP, three- year-old preschool and Montessori.”

Like Smith, Marrison also has worn many different educational hats during her teaching career.

Marrison has worked in education for 19 years, including 11 years at VECC. 

Both Marrison and Smith hail from west Michigan and are happy to be able to help educate the children in their home areas.

Marrison is a 1999 graduate of Ludington High School. She received an associate degree and bachelor’s degree from Ferris State University in early childhood education. She also earned a diploma to teach Montessori from the North American Montessori Center. 

Smith is a 1996 graduate of Shelby High School. She earned an associate degree from Muskegon Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University with a geography emphasis and a K-8 teaching certificate.

Kim Marrison

Having a passion for education is one thing for Marrison and Smith, but their passion for working with young children is very apparent.

“My favorite part of education is the children,” Smith said. “For many of the children entering my classroom it is their first experience with school. They are excited about everything. Preschool children want to learn.”

“No day is ever the same,” Marrison said. “I get to have fun while I’m with the kids.”

“They soak up so much on a daily basis,” Smith said. “You can see the light bulbs going off while doing an activity. We laugh every day. What kind of job can you do that?”

If there was one thing that Marrison and Smith would like to express to the general public is that teachers don’t just walk in and walk out with students.

“We don’t stop working in the summer,” Marrison said. “Especially this summer. We have all been working very hard to create a safe environment for all the children we service in this ever-changing world.”

“I want people to know how hard we work,” Smith said. “So many teachers are taking classes, creating new lessons and buying things for their classrooms during this time.” 

Smith and Marrison are some of the best, according to Angela Taylor, director of VECC. “I am blessed to have two wonderful dedicated high quality teachers  that truly embrace every child for their uniqueness as they provide a safe and fun learning environment each and every day at Victory.”

“We are always thinking of the students,” Marrison said. “When we are at the store, we are always getting things for our classroom that the children may like. We are always buying things out of our own money.”

“Our days don’t end at 3,” Smith said. “We work at home on lessons and creating new things for students, trying to think of how to reach that one student that just isn’t getting it or worrying about the student who might not eat or is having family issues. My students are always on my mind.”

Marrison and Smith both say they feel strong about their choices to become educators and they encourage others to take a look at becoming educators as well.

“If you are someone who loves children, likes to help people and to be busy go into education,” Smith said. “When in college, go to a variety of classrooms to see where you would like to teach. I have a K-8 certificate but have found my passion in the early grades, especially preschool. I would love to teacher kindergartners or first graders someday but middle school, no way.”

Marrison agrees with Smith and believes that hard work will help anyone reach their goals.

“Work hard and you will achieve what you are trying to achieve.”

For parents who have children ages 3 or 4, VECC still has three spots open for the 2020-2021 school year, offering both on-site and virtual learning. Over income guidelines have been waived for the current school year. Call 231-843-2410. 

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