Dorothy Dendy Smith has taught in the field of special education for 26 years. She is currently the autism specialist for Buncombe County Schools. She was Special Educator of Excellence for Buncombe County Schools for the 2006-2007 school year, and Teacher of the Year for the Progressive Education Program in Buncombe County Schools for the year 2000-2001. Smith was the Teacher of the Year for Walnut Cove Primary School and first runner-up for Teacher of the Year in the Stokes County School District in North Carolina. She graduated from Western Carolina University in 1972 with a BS in special education. She received a master of arts in education, special education, severe disabilities from Western Carolina University in 2002. She has certifications in learning disabilities, mental retardation, and severe disabilities.