Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Mrs. Smay’s “Magical Memories”

by Raffi Darrow, Ebytes Editor
Mrs. Dottie Smay, Shorecrest’s Lower School Media Specialist of 35 years, is retiring December 2022. She is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Roy, and son, Daniel, a Shorecrest graduate of the Class of 2000. 
After graduating from Glasboro State College with her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts, Mrs. Smay received her certificate in administration and supervision from the University of South Florida. She spent ten years teaching fifth, seventh and eighth graders. She has been a fixture in Shorecrest Lower School since 1987. 

Dr. Lisa Bianco, Head of Lower School, wrote, “She is a kind and generous educator who has had a powerful impact on student learning over the years. Over the 14 years I have known her, I have witnessed her magic. She reads books aloud to children in a way where young listeners hang on her every word and can’t wait for the next page to be turned. With her guidance and encouragement so many students have discovered incredible authors, books and series, as well as a deep love for reading and an appreciation for the library and innovation lab.”

Dottie is a lifelong learner and incorporated current educational research and technologies into her lessons. She developed STEAM projects, ran the after school STEAM club, and was one of the first Media Specialists in the FCIS schools to implement a Makerspace. She has presented at SXSW, GATEC, FCIS, FAME and AISL and has been published in "School Library Journal," "Teacher Librarian" and "Tech & Learning Magazine." Mrs. Smay also published blogs for AISL bimonthly. 

Parents and children of Shorecrest Lower School past and present undoubtedly have a Mrs. Smay story to share. Stories may be shared for possible inclusion in the "Crestviews" yearbook by emailing  Here she has shared a few of her many special memories with the community.

10 Magical Shorecrest Memories from Mrs. Smay:

  1. Dressing like “Pocket Lady” while passing out prizes during the annual Fall Festival and promising the parents I was not trying to teach students how to pick pockets… LOL
  1. One day I was pretending to dress like the character of “Fancy Nancy.” I really dressed over the top with jewelry and accessories, white gloves, and a parasol. I planned to tell the students “the real Mrs. Smay” was missing and I would be their teacher for the day. One of the Middle School students cut through the library and said, “Good morning, Mrs. Smay”... as though I dressed up like that every day and he was not one bit surprised!
  1. One student told her mother - who was volunteering in the Media Center - that she could not wear pants to volunteer, but needed to wear a dress and high heels like Mrs. Smay!
  1. One year, students in second grade asked me to tell them my favorite book character. I picked Fancy Nancy, and one of them took a picture of me holding the book. On Teacher Appreciation Day they gave me a signed canvas of the photo for my office. I have cherished that picture throughout the years.
  1. One day a student stopped by the library and asked, “Can I rent one of your books?” (I think he had been at a Blockbuster store recently…)

  2. My favorite saying to my classes is, “Thank you so much for shopping at Smay Mart. Every day we have blue light specials on free books to take home.”

  3. I also say, “You never have enough books… or enough shoes.”
  1. I encourage my students to check out books, and whenever they have a late book I ask them if they know where it is… I encourage them to tell me they do know where it is so I can override it and let them get more books.

  2. One day I saw a Charger shopping in Publix with their parents. He asked, “What are you doing here? Why are you here and not in the library?”

  3. I always tell my students that I love them first, and then I help them find the books they want.

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.