School mourns loss of computer science teacher

Students and employees of Jasper Jr. High School are mourning the loss of a teacher. 

Billie Smith, who served as the school’s eighth-grade computer science teacher, passed away Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. 

Jasper Jr. High Principal Lutis Moore said Smith’s death was due to a sudden health issue.  

Smith had been employed with the school for two years and, in addition to teaching computer science, she served as a media specialist and yearbook sponsor. 

“She meant a lot to us,” Moore told the Daily Mountain Eagle  Wednesday, recollecting when he interviewed Smith to work at Jasper Jr. High. “She marked all the boxes and then some.”

Smith, of Irondale, came from Birmingham City Schools. According to her obituary in the Trussville Tribune, she was a former volunteer firefighter and an EMT who took part in cave rescue. Smith also shared her own biography on the Jasper Jr. High website, where she said, “Before becoming an educator in 2003, for 12 years, I worked for the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command, National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Redstone Arsenal and numerous government contractors involved in defense or space travel. I have witnessed test-firing of missiles and solid rocket engines for the original Space Shuttle.”

In 2003, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in collaborative education from Alabama A&M University and continued to further her career in education by earning a master’s and an educational specialist degree in library media.

“It’s important for teenagers to see energy from adults, and she had it. She was authentic. She was a good person,” Moore said. “She was lively, she was loud — all the things you want from a teacher, she was. Any goal that she had, anything we asked her to do, she made sure that it was done the way it needs to be done.

“Just an overall great person, overall great team player. It was always fun to see her coming because you knew she had a story to tell you or something funny was about to happen. She really loved our kids.”

Smith is survived by her husband, who is also named Billie; three daughters; one son; and many grandchildren. 

A statement was shared to the Jasper Jr. High School Facebook page this week which read, in part, “Mrs. Smith, you were more than a teammate; you were a friend. We’re grateful for your time, energy, and laughs that were shared while we were all together. Rest well, Mrs. Smith. We will miss you.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests for people to make donations to the Spark Kindness Club at Jasper Jr. High School in Smith’s memory.  

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For more education news from the Daily Mountain Eagle, visit http://www.mountaineagle.com/education.

Janelle B. Smith

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