Announcements banner

Cunningham Elementary Teacher Named as Finalist for an Austin Under 40 Award

Emily Smith, a fifth grade teacher at Cunningham Elementary School and an Austin ISD Demonstration Teacher, has been nominated as a finalist in the Youth and Education category of the Austin Under 40 Awards.

Since 1998, Austin’s Young Women’s Alliance and the Young Men’s Business League have partnered to host the Austin Under 40 Awards event. Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala on April 4 at Austin Music Hall.

The event recognizes emerging Austinites who both lead their respective industries and exhibit a solid commitment to serving their community. Individuals are recognized in 14 categories: Arts, Sports, Media & Entertainment; Business & Entrepreneurship; Community Service & Non-profit; Culinary Arts & Hospitality; Energy & CleanTech; Engineering, Architecture & Design; Financial Services & Insurance; Government & Public Affairs; Legal; Marketing, Public Relations & Advertising; Medicine, Healthcare & Sciences; Real Estate; Technology & Startup; and Youth & Education. 

In October, Smith was one of 50 teachers featured in Random House and Welcome Books’ “American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom.” 

At Cunningham, Smith created the Hive Society to bring young learners together to support each other. She inspires the students to embrace their role as scholars, greeting the students each day with, "Good morning, you princes of thought, you queens of imagination.

"If a child needs a new pair of glasses, then I will contact enough of my friends to pay for the child's glasses," Smith, a fifth grade, English and language arts teacher at Cunningham Elementary School, wrote. "I do all that I can do. My approach to teaching is one that meets the needs of each individual child, and with the demographic that I work with, sometimes that means taking care of the child before I can work with them."

Emily is also an AISD Demonstration Classroom Teacher. Visit  to find out how you can visit Emily's classroom to watch her in action. In addition, Emily's instructional video sections are included in the Demonstration Classrooms - Elementary online course in HCP through the Cloud.

The awards gala serves not only to commend individuals such as Dan Graham, Kendra Scott and Andy Roddick for their leadership and achievements, but more importantly, to raise money for two philanthropic beneficiaries. 

Congratulations, Emily!