Friday, March 25, 2016

[400] Inge Meyring Smith, Tennessee education pioneer, to speak at MTSU March 28

MURFREESBORO — A woman who escaped Nazi terror to become one of the most dynamic forces in Tennessee education will share her story at MTSU.

Inge Meyring Smith, who fled Germany with her parents in 1938, will discuss her childhood and her career as an educator at 6 p.m. Monday, March 28, in Room 160 of the College of Education building. A printable campus parking map is available at

Smith and her family departed Germany on Kristallnacht, or “The Night of Broken Glass,” a coordinated attack on Jewish Germans on Nov. 9, 1938, when she was 15 years old. Arriving in New York, she struggled in school because she could read only German.

After marrying Paul W. Smith and moving to Franklin, Tennessee, she earned her specialist’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and taught in the federal Head Start program in Mississippi and the Appalachians before launching the Head Start program in Tennessee.

In 1969, Smith created Harpeth Academy, a private elementary school that later became Battleground Academy Lower School, in Franklin. Her motto was, “Teach the child, not the subject.” She later founded Smith Preschool, bringing her experience in conveying the love of learning to Tennessee children to a total of 62 years.

Smith is co-author of “Born for America: The Life of Inge Meyring Smith” and was the inspiration for the documentary “One of the Miracles: The Inge Meyring Smith Story.”

This Scholars Week event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available following the question-and-answer period. For more information, contact Nancy Caukin, an assistant professor of educational leadership, at 615-898-5982 or

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