School: Laguna Hills High
District: Saddleback Valley Unified School District
County: Orange County
Region: Southern California
Grade: Middle School, High School
Award Year: 2001
“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” is the philosophy of Dalynn’s style of teaching. Art may be a scary subject for some students, but Dalynn believes that breaking down the creative process into smaller more manageable tasks eases the fear factor when creating art. Smith-Malek taught drawing & painting, photography, graphic art, yearbook, drafting, and crafts in both Intermediate School and High School. She taught both Advanced Placement Art Portfolio and International Baccalaureate Art. She has also is a teacher leader with The California Arts Project for over 25 years, working to expand teachers’ knowledge of art, as well as their skill in designing arts-based teaching units. She has been on staff on numerous TCAP institutes specializing in lesson design and the creative process. Currently she is the Visual Arts Professional Development Coordinator for Saddleback Valley SD, where topics have included inclusion of all students in the arts classroom, lesson design for a diverse student population, and teacher retention. She truly believes that the arts can be a vehicle for opening up avenues of understanding and excitement about all aspects of education. Many of her students came to school for the art, and stayed for the learning. Smith-Malek earned her Master of Arts degree in secondary art education and Bachelor degree in education at California State University, Long Beach. She received her Teaching Credential from the State of California. She has also received numerous accolades, including Orange County Teacher of the Year, Saddleback Valley Unified School District Teacher of the Year, and California League of High Schools Teacher of the Year. Recently she was inducted into the Laguna Hills High School Hall of Fame.