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SACRAMENTO - For this sixth grade teacher at Bret Harte Elementary school, teaching was not her first calling. In fact, it wasn't even her second or third.

"I went to college to become a nurse," Renee Smith said. "I just didn't like that, so I got into advertising. It wasn't until much later I went back to school to do what I always wanted."

Teaching is both challenging and rewarding.

"This is the only job I have never been bored with," Smith said.

Students don't get bored either.

"I like coming to Ms. Smith's class because everyday I learn a lot of new things," Mak Tiric said.

"She really connects with you. She will help you understand it better," Rosalizebeth Martinez said.

Smith tutors students after school for free and gives out her personal phone number so students can call or text with any questions. Colleagues say Smith's willingness to go above and beyond is what makes her exceptional.

During the summer months, when Smith isn't fossil hunting, you can find her preparing for the next school year.

Professionalism and dedication are why Renee Smith is the News10 January Teacher of the Month.

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