The Susan Smith Award was created to honor an individual who exemplifies the dedication and un-ending energy Susan gave to Head Start children. This annual award is given to one who has shown outstanding commitment and support to Head Start in South Dakota.
Susan was born on March 1, 1955 in Akron Iowa. Even as a child Susan loved to work with children and babysat for several families while in High School. Susan moved to Ft. Thompson in 1973 and began her career with Head Start as a teacher in 1986. She was responsible for getting the program restored and operating again. She later became the director of the program and continued until her health forced her to retire in 2005.
Susan was a tireless worker for children, and even though she officially retired, any one who knew Susan knew that she never really retired. She stayed involved in Head Start events, encouraging program development and keeping in touch with directors and staff throughout the state. One of Susan’s goals was to promote cooperation and coordination between tribal and non-tribal Head Starts programs. She worked for that goal right up to the end.