SANDY HOOK, NJ – Cdr. Tracie Smith-Yeoman, USN (ret), was named the NJ Governor’s Educator of the Year for MAST, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, in the program sponsored by the NJ Department of Education for the 2017-18 school year. The retired Naval officer is the Senior Naval Science Instructor for the NJROTC program at MAST and is now eligible for competition for the Monmouth County Educator of the Year.
Nominated by Senior Chief Michael Vaccarella, USN (Ret), who is also an instructor with Smith-Yeoman in the MAST program, and Ms. Kelly Harmon, Assistant Principal of Curriculum for the Monmouth County Vocational School District, Smith-Yeoman was cited for inspiring her students, being an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educator, being engaging and articulate, playing an active role in the community, demonstrating leadership and innovation in and outside the classroom, and respecting and admiring students, parents and colleagues.
In her letter recommending the honor, Harmon said she, as Supervisor of Curriculum for the district, first met the retired officer when Harmon introduced herself to the MAST family three years ago. In her letter, Harmon said “She greeted me with a smile and a contagious energy. She then presented her plea, “Do you have suggestions for improving my lesson plans?” It was at that moment that our relationship began.”
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Calling her “a special breed, a rarity,” Harmon cited the hours above and beyond school hours that Smith-Yeoman puts into her MAST duties, and cited ways the teacher inspires experiences and expressions of gratitude in the workplace. “She is the type of person you want on your team; her selflessness and grace elevates the culture and sets the bar for the rest of the organization.”
Harmon also cited the Commander’s “clear command of her class, establishing a structured and inviting atmosphere, actively listening, providing feedback and giving students an opportunity to relate personal experiences with the lesson topics….”students respond favorably because they know she cares.” She concluded that Smith-Yeoman “walks with a confidence that demands respect…her face is always turned to the sun. She serves as a positive role model for all, but especially the female cadets.”
In accepting the award along with a photograph of her cadets in formation on the Fort Hancock Parade Grounds, Smith-Yeoman said, “I am honored and so appreciative of this incredible distinction but I have to credit my incredible principal, Mr. Earl Moore, and the wonderful staff who are always there to help and guide and give advice. And I am further honored to be working with the greatest students anywhere, young men and women who really give me hope for the future of our country.”
Smith-Yeoman has been Senior Naval Science Instructor at MAST for five years, immediately following her retirement after 24 years in the US Navy. A native of Highlands, she is a graduate of Mater Dei High School, New Monmouth and the University of South Carolina before being commissioned in the Navy. She and her husband, Chris, and son, Angus, live in Ocean County.