CHS Welcomes New Teacher – Casi Smith


Jacqueline Lemus-Govea, Editor-in-Chief

With the new school year already in full swing, there are several new members to the CHS family, including Ms. Casi Smith. Smith is from the Estacada area and went to Oregon State University to get her degree in marketing and business; and later went back to school to get her masters degree in teaching. Despite not looking nearly old enough, Smith has been teaching for nine years now. She also enjoys traveling and reading, she particularly enjoys reading self-help, business, and fictional books, such as Lord of the Rings. Prior to being in education, Smith worked at Intel. 

Before deciding that she wanted to be a teacher Smith didn’t think that being a teacher would be a career path she’d find exciting. It was only through working with teen students that she realized that being a teacher would be a better career shift from her original plans. 

“I wanted to be a Chief Marketing Officer at some company. [But] I realized that it just was, kind of, soul-sucking,” said Smith. “Not that every corporate job is, but I didn’t think I would become a teacher and I just loved working with kids, and that’s changed my mind: hating my corporate job and then loving working with teens.”

At one point she was in art school, but eventually decided that it wouldn’t be a job she could make money at (to which she noted is completely false). Smith said, “I transferred and ended up changing my major to business and marketing because I thought that you couldn’t make a career out of art.”

She continued to say that having had this experience made her want to encourage students to follow their passions regardless if they believe they can make money from it or not (because it’s totally possible!) In fact, in the summers she explained that she shoots weddings and makes decent money doing one of her hobbies. “I make more money doing that than I do teaching. Which is super fun because I’m, kind of, the person that I —I have to stay busy, so doing that in the summer has been really great. And it’s helped me pay off loans and debt and all of that stuff,” said Smith.

In regards to teaching, Smith said that she is currently teaching Marketing 1, Marketing 2, Tech Apps, Digital Media Production, and Fashion and Housing Design at CHS. She has always taught subjects in those areas, but is thrilled to be teaching classes that she has less experience with too. 

“The newest class that I have not as much experience in is the Fashion and Housing Design,” said Smith. “But what’s funny is that I really wanted to go into Fashion Design when I was in high school, so I’m super excited to teach that class because I am interested in all of the content. So I think it’ll be really fun to do that work alongside the students.”

It hasn’t even been a full school year yet, but Smith has some ideas she wants to share with students who are interested, one of which is potentially creating a physical school magazine like the one she did with her students at Beaverton High School. 

“ I started a magazine for students and I thought that would be really fun if people were open to that. It was really cool and the students loved it… we did physical prints” said Smith. “…I would love to create something like that for this school and create a space for students who really want to pursue marketing, business, and design as a career path.”

In addition to the wonderful experiences that come with teaching, Smith explained that there are many challenges that teachers face throughout their careers, including issues with funding. Smith added that when teachers have cool ideas, such as creating a school magazine, the next question that comes to mind is how am I going to get funding? Otherwise, the teachers and students involved don’t have the necessary equipment, supplies, and time to create whatever it is they need to be successful. 

It’s obviously a hectic experience from one school to the next. Despite that, Smith has found many ways to ease the transition. Smith said, “I knew some of the people that worked here like: Zach Ramburg, I met Adriann [Hardin] when I was a student teacher, and so I definitely had my eye on CHS because I had those connections.” 

Though she enjoyed her time while at the Beaverton School District, she added that she has felt extremely welcomed by CHS. “ I feel like it’s so much more [of] a community at CHS than what I’ve experienced in the past. It terms of tradition, students being involved in events, and just how welcome[d] everybody has been making me feel,” said Smith. “ Especially Ms. Cirbo and Ms. Hardin, they’ve really helped me get on my feet and just get what I need to be successful.”

With that being said, Smith is excited to start a new chapter in her teaching career. She said that this is what she hopes people will gain from being in her classes or meeting her elsewhere: “I really love my students and I really love teaching. I think that’s important for anyone who’s in my class or is involved in the school to know that I left the corporate world because it wasn’t fulfilling, but being a teacher is, and I just am always so grateful that I’m here.”