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Teacher honored by business
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Recently, RBC Bank honored Mandy Smith, a first grade teacher at Kilough Elementary School, with a $500 award as part of its sixth annual Tribute to Teachers program.


The program recognizes 50 elementary and middle school teachers, in eight states, who demonstrate exceptional community leadership.


Surprised, Smith said that the award was a great way to end the school year.


“It’s things like this make my job as a teacher worth it,” she said. “I have a great group of kids to work with, and I am very appreciative of the award.”


Winners are located throughout the bank’s Southeastern footprint, and this year the bank partnered with its sister company RBC Wealth Management to also include teachers in Minneapolis, Minn., and Oakland, Calif.


Smith has been teaching first grade in the local school system for the past 10 years, beginning her career at Black’s Mill Elementary School before transferring to Kilough when it opened.


“Now, more than ever, teachers need support to help create the best learning environment they can for their students,” said Cindy Staples, regional manager of RBC Bank. “We want Mandy (Smith) to know how much we appreciate and value what she does for the students in our community.”


Lois Zangara, principal at Kilough, was equally as complimentary of Smith.


“She is a gifted teacher who brings so much to the classroom everyday,” said Zangara. “She loves her students, and she teaches them to love each other in the same way that she loves them.”


Smith was selected from 2,400 nominees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Minnesota and California. She is known for challenging each child according to their ability and addressing each of their needs to maximize their first grade experience.


E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at