ANAHEIM -- Blake Smith of Santa Ana, Calif., has been selected as the Angels' representative in the "Target Presents PEOPLE All-Star Teachers" campaign, which celebrates remarkable current and retired educators who make an impact on the lives of their students and communities.
Smith joined Valley High School in 2009 to work with students who have severe disabilities. At the school, he also founded the Inclusive Club, which encourages students to build meaningful relationships with another. The club's fundraising has paid for school dances, graduation and community-based instruction trips.
He began his career working at a preschool for the blind as a maintenance man before earning a degree in child and adolescent studies. Smith now has a master's degree in special education and is working toward a PhD in education.
Smith and the other 29 winners, one representing each MLB club, will be included in All-Star Week activities and recognized during the pregame ceremony of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game on FOX at Target Field in Minneapolis.
You can find the full list of Smith's esteemed colleagues at AllStarTeachers.com.
The All-Star Teachers program has been just one part of an effort by Target, MLB and People to celebrate teachers and raise awareness about the importance of education this baseball season. MLB legends have attended 14 Target education-focused events in MLB communities throughout this season, and the list has included Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, Vinny Castilla, Ron Cey, Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez, Tim Laudner, Gary Matthews, Tony Oliva, Harold Reynolds, Michael Young, Edgar Martinez, Tim Wakefield, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, Chad Tracy and John Smoltz. Refer to AllStarTeachers.com and ABullsEyeView.com/Baseball to see examples.
Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDeFranks. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.