2024 Laura Tracy Baisden Award Winner

Laura Tracy Baisden Award for Exemplary Teaching of Writing

The West Virginia writing community lost a friend and advocate in 2018 with the untimely passing of Laura Tracy Baisden. During her two decades as a Logan County educator and member of the National Writing Project, Ms. Baisden touched countless lives with her generosity, compassion, and dedication to the craft of writing. The Central WV Writing Project wishes to celebrate the life and work of Laura Tracy Baisden by establishing a memorial award that will recognize an exemplary teacher of writing within West Virginia. The award will be presented annually at West Virginia Young Writers Day.


Look for the next nomination for the 2025 award to be open in Fall 2024.

The 2024 Recipient of the Laura Tracy Baisden Award for Exemplary Teaching of Writing

Sarah Smith

Mrs. Sarah Smith has been a teacher at her alma mater, Parkersburg South High School, for the past eleven years. She teaches Freshmen English and Senior Advanced Placement/Dual Credit Literature & Composition. She also helps sponsor the school’s Key Club. Sarah earned both her bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education and her master’s degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Ohio Valley University in Vienna, WV. In addition to being certified to teach English 5-12, she also holds a Library Media Specialist certification. In her classroom, Sarah is especially passionate about promoting literature by living authors, giving students choice, and using visual art as a means of strengthening writing skills. She credits her mom with cultivating her enthusiasm for literature from a very young age and really feels like it has shaped who she is as both a teacher and person. Sarah lives in Wood County with her two young sons and husband; in addition to spending time with them, she enjoys sports, reading, nature, and true crime podcasts.