The Ann Richards School is merging art and science in revolutionary ways

WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 1, 2017

A bold and inspiring high school art teacher from Austin, TX will be celebrated in July by Honored, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating teachers.

Matt Smith was selected from teachers at public, public charter, and private schools across the nation as an Honoree for his interdisciplinary art instruction at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.  Smith draws from science and math to encourage his students to make art that transcends the studio and is alive in the world around them.  His creativity and enthusiasm have driven a huge expansion of the art program at ARS and inspired the creation of dedicated “Maker’s Space” that offers students tools from paintbrushes to 3D printers.

With Smith’s encouragement and guidance, his students have flourished.  Milah Williams, a ninth-grader, says she uses the study of perspective Smith teaches to influence her studies in math and physics.  “Art is there through everything.  It’s all tied in.” says Milah.  

The Honored award is focused on the Honoree’s impact on one single student and celebrating great education that happens one student at a time.   In Smith’s case, that student is Milah Williams, who has found her academic trajectory transformed by his teaching.  Milah’s success in art has also helped her find confidence that transcends the classroom. Milah herself says it best: “He helps me think.”

Smith’s story was composed by author Laura Furman, editor of the O’Henry Prize Stories.   Furman is the author of several novels and collections of short stories, and a memoir. For 28 years she taught at the University of Texas as the Susan Taylor McDaniel Regents Professor of Creative Writing.  To read the full story and see photos of Smith with his students, please visit the Honored website at

About Honored

Honored is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to elevating the status of teaching in the United States.  Each month, Honored shines a spotlight on a teacher who has changed the life of a single student.  The Honoree receives a $5,000 cash award, and Honored recruits a world-class writer to tell their story.  Honorees are selected from K-12 teachers of all subjects at public, private, and charter schools across the country.  Honored’s National Advisory Board includes luminaries such as the internationally bestselling author Michael Lewis, Founder Charles Best, Teach for America Founder Wendy Kopp, and FEED Co-founder Lauren Bush Lauren.   

For more information about Honored, please visit  For regular updates on Honored and our monthly Honorees, follow and like us on,, and

Honored Press Contact

Katherine Boone