Reeny Smith Asprey
Reeny Smith Asprey
Reeny Smith Asprey is a sound technician.

Smith Asprey, who's now part of the Kingsland roster, is a speech and language pathologist (SLP), which she explains is a person who works with students from birth to 21 years old to increase speech sounds, improve receptive and expressive language problems. They also work with students with students who have autism, learning disabilities, developmental and cognitive delays, and hearing impairments, not to mention children with syndromes. SLPs are actually considered to be therapists, she explained.

Smith Asprey will be marking her 35th high school reunion this year, having attended college for six years after her high school graduation. She attended RCTC and then went on to Minnesota Mankato State University, graduating in 1984.

"My first interest was teaching the hard of hearing and deaf population. The available colleges were too far away, so I decided an SLP was the next best thing. I have no regrets," she said. "I have been teaching for about 25 years - I taught for the Rochester School District 535 for four years and Kasson-Mantorville for 16 years, and I've tutored for four months seventh through ninth grade students who were expelled from school. It was an awesome experience."

She has some experience working in the Kingsland school district, and she enjoys working in smaller school districts.

"The staff is impressive to work with. I feel fortunate to be a part of their devotion and commitment to their students," she said. "The staff at Kingsland endeavors to provide not only the best education for each individual student, but goes beyond that each and every day. Many, many teachers/administrators consistently come early, stay late, come in on weekends and/or take work home with them each night. The teachers strive to be in tune with each student and his or her needs. Their jobs are truly their life's passion.

"The paraprofessionals are also critical to the success of students. These people give so much each day at work. Without them, our jobs would be much more difficult and many students would not progress."

She also expressed her appreciation to the district's support staff and volunteers. "Beyond that, all other employees work hard to make things flow during the day, and before and after students leave the buildings. I am so proud to be a part of the Kingsland staff."

Her role as a therapist can have its challenges, but because she feels so welcome at Kingsland, she's confident enough to know that they'll support her decisions to ask other SLPs' opinions of students' progress.

"There are always new therapy techniques, new research and students that provide you with the opportunity of thinking 'Hmmm, I have never encountered this before.' Or 'That new therapy would work well for Jimmy.' This is when it is important to be able to contact other SLPs," she explained.

Smith Asprey related, "Children should feel safe and valued within the school day. Once we can achieve that, we can solidify a good self-image and encourage individuality so the newly acquired knowledge can impact their lives forever. My annual goal is to make a significant difference in one student a year. I have several teachers and professors I know helped make me what I am today because of the way they treated me and how they taught.

"I most anticipate the growth of each individual student regardless of the goal/objectives. It is always a welcome when teachers and parents report that a student or child has made gains outside of my speech and language room and the school environment. I so enjoy the birth to three years little ones. It can be a challenge, but the growth can be significant in a short amount of time, although I find I like any age of my students."

Smith Asprey commutes to Spring Valley and Wykoff from a small farm outside of Hayfield. She and her husband, Kevin, have two girls. Cyndi just got married in June and lives in Hayfield, and Keanna will attend RCTC this fall. They have horses, goats, her donkey, two dogs and a cat. They also have many barn cats.

"I love being with my family," she said. "We are known for eating every few hours and we have a tendency to laugh a lot and loudly. I also enjoy my horses, going out for lunch with friends and reading."