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I was born on January 17, 1962, in Ogden, Utah at 6:11 p.m. during a heavy snowstorm. My parents are Charles and Alice Smith, who have been married since 1960. I have an older brother named Andrew who served in the Marine Corps for 20 years, then began a second career in Montana with his wife Patty and their two daughters, Amber and Andrea. My younger sister Helen has three children, and lives in Springfield.

We moved around frequently during my childhood. From Ogden, the list of cities we have lived in includes Los Angeles; Flagstaff, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Lubbock, TX; Amarillo, TX; Bettendorf, IA; Kansas City, KS; Springfield, MO; Conway, MO; Excelsior Springs, MO; and Lebanon on four different occasions. At one time, during the first 8 years of my schooling, I went to 12 different schools in 5 different states, including three schools in one year. The primary effect on me was that I became very attuned to other's people's feelings, as survival in a new school meant being able to size up people (and their intentions) quickly.

After all of this, my family moved back to Lebanon, where I attended LJHS for the 8th and 9th grade. I graduated from Lebanon Senior High in 1980, winning several scholarships which enabled me to attend the University of Missouri-Columbia. At first I studied to be a social studies teacher because I really enjoyed history. During my sophomore year I switched to special education because I thought it would be more rewarding. The highlights of my college career include serving as the College of Education Undergraduate Student Council President and my student teaching experiences at Jefferson Junior High with Paula Phillips in special education and Hickman High School with Marilyn Rowe in computers. Both schools are in Columbia, MO.

After graduating from college in 1984 I began teaching here at the junior high as a special education teacher for the mentally retarded. I did this for four years, in the process earning a Master's degree in higher and adult education with Irv Cockriel at Mizzou. Later, I earned a doctorate in curriculum under the supervision of Clifford Hofwolt from Peabody College at Vanderbilt in 1998. I also became more interested in computers, and began teaching one hour a day in 1985. During the 88-89 and 89-90 school years I coordinated the gifted program and taught two hours of computers each day. For the past several years I've been teaching computers exclusively to junior high students.

In my spare time, I love to bicycle (about 3,500 miles per year) and run. I also like to read, especially mysteries, poetry, science fiction, and history. I collect music from the '50s and '60s and have over 4000 singles from those eras; I also have begun collecting in the areas of classical music, blues, and jazz. 
I also like to bake and do crossword puzzles. And, of course, I love to be with my friends, whom I cherish. Another interest is personality typologies, including such tests as the Gregorc and the Myers-Briggs.  I suffer from hypoglycemia, a metabolism disorder that means I have to limit my sugar intake. If I have too much processed sugar I become extremely drowsy. It does not affect my life too much, except that I can't have any candy bars or ice cream, or any foods where sugar is the first or second most common ingredient. I was first diagnosed with hypoglycemia in 1984, during my senior year in college, after I suffered a couple of seizures brought on by low sugar levels.