BOONE — Tracy Smith, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education, has been named the recipient of the 2019 C. Kenneth McEwin Distinguished Service in Middle Grades Education Award. The award was presented to Smith at the North Carolina Association for Middle Level Education 2019 Annual Conference in Greensboro.
The award, which is named in honor of Appalachian Professor Emeritus C. Kenneth McEwin, is presented to an individual (or a school or an organization) who has had a significant, longterm impact on the advancement of middle-level education in North Carolina. The contribution can be in service, leadership and/or research.
“Receiving the award that bears his name from Dr. McEwin himself was more of an honor than I could express,” Smith said. “Like the other early leaders in middle grades education, Dr. McEwin believed decades ago that young adolescents needed a different type of education than was being provided to younger, elementary-aged children and older adolescents in high school.
“For about 50 years, he advocated for developmentally responsive practices for young adolescents and their teachers and families. He is to me, and to many, a legend,” she added.
McEwin served as a professor in Appalachian’s RCOE for nearly 40 years and was also the coordinator of the college’s Master of Arts in middle grades education program. He developed the first middle grades licensure and degree programs in North Carolina and at Appalachian.
Together, Smith and McEwin authored the book “The Legacy of Middle School Leaders: In Their Own Words” (Information Age Publishing, 2011).
Commenting on their research for the book, Smith said, “Fearing that their voices would be lost, we spent 10 years interviewing those leaders of middle grades education and have argued that the middle grades movement was a critical social movement to come out of the 1960s.”
“After some years of teaching students in the (Reich) College of Education, I was able to help cultivate a network of middle grades teachers across the state who continued to stay in touch with me — and with each other,” Smith shared. “What bound us together was a continued conviction that young adolescents possess unlimited potential and promise.”
She continued, “I chose and continue to choose Appalachian because of its long and rich history and commitment to teaching excellence.”