Erik Smith is incredibly excited to be joining the Merrill community as Dean of Instruction. Erik earned a geology degree from Michigan State University while also working as a substitute teacher as well as a volunteer English as a Second Language teacher in his local community. As an adventurer, after graduation Erik set off to see what he had studied by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in its entirety, from Mexico to Canada. From there he chose to peruse his passion for education and moved overseas to serve as an English as a Second Language program developer in South Korea. During his two and a half years abroad, if he wasn’t in the basement of his local elementary school working to get English Town up and running, he was either traveling or preparing for his next adventure. Leaving behind some amazing friends and an expat lifestyle, Erik returned to the states to formalize his service and increase his impact. After entering Denver Public Schools as a paraprofessional serving in a MI-Special Education classroom he earned an alternative teaching license and taught science for two years in the Montebello community. From there it was the desire to understand excellence in pedagogy that let him to the Denver School of Science and Technology where we continued to teach science while growing as a practitioner and leader. It was in this setting where Erik earned a principle license as well as a master’s degree in Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado. Since then he has spent the last five years managing the Denver Teacher Residency program and serving as an Adjunct Professor at the Morgridge College of Education. Erik spends his time outside of education with his young family and is currently planning their next big adventure. This summer, the Smith family (daughter Lila, son Reed and wife Corinna) will embark on a 40 day road trip around Southern California. With a passion for learning, adventuresome spirt and grounding philosophy around the importance of excellence in education Erik is excited to join us in service of the Merrill Community.