Valley Lutheran High School Teacher Receives National Award2 min read

Valley Lutheran High School teacher, Eric Smith, has been named the 2014 Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator by the Lutheran Education Association.

Eric Smith, VLHS Teacher
Eric Smith, 2014 Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator

Smith of Saginaw has taught at VLHS for about a decade. He teaches fitness, health and religion, is the assistant coach of varsity boys basketball and is the physical education department chair. He also helps coordinate the family group ministry at VLHS.

LEA Executive Director Jonathan C. Laabs (pictured above) formally presented the award to Smith on Friday, April 25, at the school. Some very special guests also made an appearance: Smith’s wife’s first-grade class from Faith, Bay City.

Susie Smith’s first-graders led chapel for the high school students, as well as help with the formal award presentation.

“Being able to accept this award amongst my students and my peers means a lot to me,” Eric Smith said. “Who I am as a teacher is a reflection of Valley as a school. This is more of an award of who Valley is than for who I am. I am a reflection of the mentors around me, and I am humbled.”

Smith earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois and a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago. He previously taught in public and Lutheran schools in Illinois and Colorado.

“I am passionate about teaching and presenting a Christian worldview, Christian wellness and biblical boundaries,” he said. “With God’s help and to His glory, I strive to be the best servant leader I can be in the time and place that He has placed me.”

Smith is the only educator in the nation to receive the 2014 LEA Distinguished Lutheran Secondary Educator award. He was nominated by two peers and then completed a process that included submitting recommendations from three other people plus autobiographical information, and then winning the selection of an LEA committee.

VLHS Executive Director John Brandt said Smith’s honor is well-deserved.

“Eric is consistently looking for the best way to reach students,” Brandt said. “He is a man with a strong Christian faith that he shares in meaningful ways with our students.”

To learn more about Valley Lutheran High School, visit or call (989) 790-1676. Learn more about the Lutheran Education Association at

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About the Author

Debby Fall serves as Assistant to the President - Communications for the Michigan District, LCMS.

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