ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT OF THE YEAR
JoEllen Smith (Owosso High School) graduated from Owosso High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University. A three-sport athlete at Owosso lettering in volleyball, basketball and softball, JoEllen was a three-time all-Big 9 Softball pitcher at Owosso and currently holds records at Grand Valley State University for the lowest season and career earned-run average. Additionally, she was recognized as an Amateur Softball Association first-team All-American pitcher 1994 and was a member of the Class A national championship team in 1992.
For the past 25 years, JoEllen has served as the administrative assistant at Owosso High School, receiving a 20-Year MIAAA Dedicated Service Award in 2016. She is also known for her role as varsity softball head coach at Owosso, where she has been for 40 years. In 2021, JoEllen led Owosso to its first ever MHSAA softball state championship. JoEllen is the winningest coach in the history of Flint-area softball and is 18th in all-time wins in the MHSAA.
She was inducted into the Michigan Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame 1999, the Owosso High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame 2019. In 2013, she was named by the Owosso Argus Press as one of the top 10 most influential figures in Shiawassee County sports. A long-time member of MIAAA and MHSSCA, JoEllen has served as MHSSCA regional representative numerous times and also serves as the MHSSCA All-state committee chair. She has been an MIAAA mid-winter conference presenter, is the co-founder of Owosso Travel Softball Club and serves as an accommodated standardized testing proctor.
Dallas Lintner, CMAA, former athletic director at Owosso High School and current Principal at Owosso Lincoln High School, writes, “What impresses me most about JoEllen is her commitment to building leaders and cohesion among team members. For decades, before each one of her games, she selects a different team member to prepare the team inspirational speech for the evening. These moments are in seclusion and private without an audience. They are seldom discussed with folks outside of the team room and are meant to be moments of togetherness with the team and are seldom about the game itself. These moments are about memories, moments and life itself. I think of the assistant coaches in our program and the tremendous gift they have in her mentoring. She is a mentor to me as well. She is a mentor and a caretaker for our community.”
JoEllen is married to her husband Terry and has two daughters, Bridget and Molly.
PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS OF THE YEAR
2018 Brenda Greear, Carlson
2019 Anna Devitt, Hartland
2020 Sue Jaques, Mattawan
2021 Elizabeth Wilson, Saugatuck