Knox Elementary parent Selena Smith doesn’t just volunteer in her son’s classroom. She’s “adopted” others, too.
Selena Smith is at Knox Elementary every weekday.
She arrives before the school store opens at 7:15 a.m. Some days, she never leaves.
Smith isn’t a teacher.
She isn't even on the district’s payroll.
But if you ask anyone around Knox, they'll tell you she probably should be.
“There have been times," bookkeeper Teena Coogle said, "that I’ve called her and I’m like, ‘Could you come by this afternoon or tomorrow morning?’ And she’s like, ‘Well, I’m here now.’ She’s always here, just willing to do whatever she can."
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Smith's son is a second grader at Knox.
Ever since Chase was in kindergarten, Smith has been involved at the school.
The plan wasn't to spend entire school days there. Back then, she said she spent one day, two hours a week at Knox.
"I started as copy mom," Smith said. "And then it just kind of expanded from there."
She helped in the school's media center.
"When she comes in," media specialist Dixie Harper said, "she just starts doing. She can see what needs to be done and she just takes the initiative and does it without being asked by anyone. That happens all over the school."
Last year, a PTA member recognized that initiative and asked Smith if she would volunteer in the school store, which opens at 7:15 a.m. She said yes.
This year, Smith adopted a teacher who didn’t have a room mom. That's on top of volunteering in her own son's classroom.
"To volunteer that time everyday, day in and day out, without pay, is remarkable," said Dr. Kelly B. Page, the school's principal. "It says a lot about who she is."
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Smith can't point to some "a-ha" moment that might explain her involvement at Knox. There isn't one.
She can't say that she follows the example of her own parents. Smith's mother worked full-time and couldn't volunteer in her schools.
For Smith, it's simply a personal choice.
She said there have been so many cuts to the classroom, she wants to do whatever she can so the instructors at Knox aren't being pulled "away from classroom teaching time.
"I just think it’s very important to be involved, to know the teachers. You can kind of get a feel for the curriculum, the school."
Smith said it helps her reinforce Chase's classroom instruction at home.
"The school does wonderful in teaching them," she said, "but as parents that’s our main job: to teach them. I don’t expect to leave it up to the school. I want to expand on that. I want him to see that I’m not leaving his education up to someone else."