Wake County Public School System

Hall of Fame


Ann Smith

It’s not that Ann Smith doesn’t appreciate getting credit for the work she’s done – she just never stopped moving long enough to hear it or calculate the impact.

With curiosity, abundant energy and a cheerful disregard for titles and attention – or even boundaries for her interests – she embarked on one project after another. In many cases, she led the way when others had not even conceived the need. The results are scattered all over the landscape of North Carolina and have significantly improved the lives of Wake County school children.

In the 1970’s Smith created Wake County’s first Writer-in-Residence program, followed by Wake County’s first Artist-in-Residence program. She created the first Cultural Arts Committee in a Wake County school, at Root Elementary, which for the first time specifically raised money for arts programs. Today there are cultural arts committees in most Wake County schools.

She helped plan the first statewide arts education conference in the country. It brought together elected officials, artists and funding agencies. The conference, Arts and the Child, served as a model for other communities, showing the way and revealing that arts are essential to children’s education.

Planning arts festivals for museums and special events became her signature. Her ability to unite people is her unique gift. She co-chaired the following: the public opening for the North Carolina Museum of Art, the 24-hour public opening for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Nature Research Center, the Elizabethan Festival for America’s 400th Anniversary, The Spirit of Kitty Hawk (North Carolina’s official hot air balloon), Operation Raleigh, and First Night Raleigh.

Ann Smith was inducted into the Wake County Public School System Hall of Fame in 2017.

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