MEET GAE-RETIRED MEMBER LYNDA WOLFE-SMITH
Lynda sponsored several
Lynda states, “I would
not allow students to do
something to less than
the best of their abilities.
Teaching was a calling;
I was always working
to encourage and give
That relentlessness and
dedication to the needs of her students resulted in
Lynda becoming the first black national Teacher of the
Year for Junior Achievement, Inc. Her leadership skills
earned her the role as the first president of Thurgood
Marshal Middle School, and she worked with President
Jimmy Carter with the Atlanta Project.
When talking about the state of education today she
laments, “This new education won’t let you educate
children. They need to be taught responsibility first.”
Advising new teachers Lynda says,” Concentrate on
your duties and responsibilities, your craft, and time
management.” Lynda elaborates on each:
• Duties and responsibilities. Duties and
responsibilities are the heaviest load. They involve
everything on the computer, email mandates,
grades, and parent communication. You have to
sacrifice to keep up.
• Your craft. Never stop creating ways to reach all
children. Be creative. Become your best student.
• Time management. Take your time to feel some
success at the end of each day.
In addition, Lynda offers the following advice to those
in the profession:
• Find a mentor to calm you down when you want to
quit; you’ll want to. Stand up and be an individual
and never stop trying (in some way, to be all things)
for every child. Everybody needs to feel equal. They
• Focus on your job.
• Join a professional organization – preferably GAE/
NEA and their local affiliate.
• Stay away from negative coworkers who are always
• Minimize time with the “street committee” (gossip).
They may be carriers for administrative agendas.
Lynda also shares the following with retirees from the
• Spend time getting involved with GAE and your
• Find ways and mechanisms to meet the challenges
of this new political machine.
• Maintain the communication and agenda set up by
this president. Keep the precedent she has set.
FALL MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
For every GAE-Retired or Pre-Retired member that you sign up between now and
December 31, 2018, you will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card!
Sign up 2 members, get 2 chances to win! Sign up 5 members, get 5 chances to win!
Whom can I sign up as a GAE-Retired
• a retired educator or educational support
professional who has been an Active member of
the Georgia Association of Educators
• a retired educator or educational support
professional who has been an Active member in
an affiliate of the National Education Association
in another state
• a person who has retired as a staff member of
the Georgia Association of Educators, the National
Education Association, or any other affiliate of the
National Education Association
• a person who was employed for at least five (5)
years in a position that would have qualified him/
her for Active membership in an NEA affiliate but
who is no longer so employed or is retired.
Whom can I sign up as a
Anyone who is currently a GAE Active member!
How much are dues?
$400 for lifetime Retired and Pre-Retired;
$60 for annual Retired
What if I have a question?
Call GAE-Retired: 678.837.1105.
All completed membership forms must be sent
to the following mail or email address and be
postmarked by December 31, 2018:
Karen Solheim, GAE-Retired VP
100 Crescent Centre Parkway Suite 500
Tucker, GA 30084
by Toni Smith, GAE-Retired President
GAE-Retired member Lynda Wolfe Smith was the
recipient of this year’s NEA-Retired Distinguished
Service Award! The purpose of this award is to
recognize an individual who embodies the outstanding
service of retirees in any or all of the following areas:
involvement in the community; involvement in the
Association; enhancement of retirees' image in the
Association and public education.
Many of us think we know Lynda Wolfe Smith because
she has been a fearless voice for public education
for decades. She served as president of the Atlanta
Association of Educators and as president of Georgia
Association of Educators-Retired among her many
other leadership roles, but it is as the relentless and
passionate advocate for public education that so many
educators recognize her.
The fifteenth of 16 children in a close-knit family,
Lynda hales from Mobile, Alabama, with grounding
from activist parents; her father was a third-generation
union president, and her grandfather was a regional
union representative in the late 1800s through the
early 1900s. Both parents worked with the NAACP:
her mother involved with such undertakings as voter
registration, the Black Slate, and March of Dimes
volunteering. Because of his activism, her father was
threatened and assaulted but continued fighting and
chaired the deacon board for 60 years “speaking
truth.” Therefore, Lynda often says, “Fight is so
engrained in me.”
Always a leader in school, Lynda found her counselors
and teachers steering her toward teaching. However,
Lynda’s path to becoming an educator was nontraditional.
Because she had four sisters in the
nursing profession, mentally, she felt nursing was
her calling as well. She moved to Atlanta for “love
and independence.” Even with a degree in history
and a minor in political science from Alabama State
University, where she was a swimmer, she worked
as a day laborer, often in hotels throughout the area.
Eventually, Ruth LeFlore Ward, a Mobilian and wife
of Judge Horace Ward, steered her toward becoming
a substitute teacher at Washington High School. The
administration immediately made her a long-term
substitute. Knowing “If I’m not for myself, who will
be for me?,” she wrote to the principal to solicit a
teaching job and was given a swimming class to teach
at the Ollie Street YMCA. That position morphed into
decades of teaching in Atlanta Public Schools.
Lynda shares, “I’ve always been ‘the students’
teacher.’ Whether students needed a recommendation
or shoes, I was there for them. Whatever I learned,
I brought into the classroom, even how to cut a
pineapple and how to sew to make flags of different
countries. When it comes to teaching, I’m relentless.”
Her students won Model U.N., The Stock Market
Game, and other awards in social science fairs, and
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