FLORENCE – Three Francis Marion University School of Education alumni received 2012 awards at a reception held Feb. 16, as part of Homecoming activities.
Benjamin R. Daniel (’10) received the Novice Educator Award, Victoria Renee Williams-Cooper (’11) received the Veteran Educator Award and Robert R. Smiley (’78, ‘90) received the Administrator Award.
The Novice Educator Award recognizes a successful FMU graduate who demonstrates leadership in education and has been an educator at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level for one to three years. In addition, the candidate must convey a strong sense of pride and loyalty for his/her alma mater, demonstrate success in his/her educational endeavors and serve his/her community through active involvement in civic and/or charitable and service organizations.
The criteria for the Veteran Educator Award and the Administrator Award are the same as outlined for the Novice Award but he/she must be an educator or administrator at the early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school level with four or more years’ experience.
Daniel graduated from FMU in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. He is employed with Greenwood Elementary School as a sixth grade math and writing teacher.
Williams-Cooper is a 2011 graduate of FMU with a master’s degree in instructional accommodations in education. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, 30 hours of which were earned at FMU. Williams-Cooper is a seventh grade social studies teacher at Darlington Middle School and was named district teacher of the year in 2011.
Smiley, with nearly 11 years of employment with Florence School District 5, was named superintendent on Jan. 1, 2012. Smiley received a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Education and a Specialist Certificate in elementary education from FMU. While attending the USC, he received a Master of Education and an Education Specialist degree in administration.
He began his educational career as a teacher in 1978 teaching biology and chemistry at Carolina Academy in Lake City. One year later, he began teaching at Hannah-Pamplico Middle School where he taught science and gifted and talented. Smiley remained at Florence 2, based in Pamplico, for 11 years while serving in the district office as staff development coordinator for three years. In 1993, he transferred to Florence School District 4 in Timmonsville to serve as assistant superintendent.
Over the past few years Florence School District 5 has become one of the highest testing districts in the Pee Dee.
(L-R): Daniel, Williams-Cooper, Smiley