Maine DOE team member Julie Smyth is being highlighted this week as part of the Get to Know the Maine DOE Team Campaign. Learn a little more about Julie in the question and answer below.
What are your roles with DOE?
I am the Director of the Office of School and Student Supports. This office oversees three teams – the Climate, Culture, Resilience Team; the Coordinated School Health Team; and the School Approval/Enrollment Team. We refer to ourselves as the O-Triple-S (or O3S).
What do you like best about your job?
I work with amazing professionals and feel so supported across the department. I love to introduce ideas and to brainstorm, and my ideas and energy have been met with enthusiasm and appreciation. It’s a wonderful feeling to work with others who love Maine and the field of education as much as I do. I am so proud of our educators and school personnel in the field, and anything I can do to provide them support and to show my appreciation for all that they do is an incredible feeling. It drives me daily and fills me with immense purpose.
How or why did you decide on this career?
I like to think that education chose me. My family had limited college experience, and I walked on the Bates campus in 1989 thinking I’d study pre-law. I gravitated toward English courses, and in the spring of my first year, an opening was available for a class titled Introduction to Teaching. The rest is history! I knew immediately that I belonged on this track, and I have never regretted my decision. I taught high school English in Windham for thirteen years and then moved into the administrative route, where I spent time in the Old Orchard Beach and Saco systems. Although I miss the daily interactions with staff and students, I LOVE working for the Maine Department of Education and could not be more proud of the work of the O3S!
What do you like to do outside of work for fun?
I surround myself with amazing family and friends! My husband Curt and I enjoy spending time on the beaches in Biddeford and cheering on our two teenagers from the sidelines as they participate in soccer, basketball, track and baseball. Our two Biddeford Tigers fill us with a lot of pride! We also have quite a fierce tennis rivalry going – mom and son vs. dad and daughter! The more active we are the better!