Jannai Smith, the Human Performance Instructional Specialist here at Eagle Rock School, kick-starts her work days by taking our students through their morning exercises, conducting intramurals and recreation activities. In addition, she’s responsible for our Human Performance Center, where she plans, organizes and directs the operations of sports and fitness programs, activities and services aimed at addresses students’ physical fitness and healthy living.
Jannai joined us this past summer, and she arrived here with an impressive work history, having been a physical education teacher at a public school in Muncie, Ind. As a coach, she recalls spending many nights on the road, traveling to different games for volleyball, basketball and track & field. Prior to that, Jannai worked for three years in a juvenile detention/treatment center and another three years as a Ball State Recreational Center intern.
We asked Jannai to tell us a little about herself, and here is what she had to say:
Eagle Rock: Why did you choose to come to work for Eagle Rock?
Jannai Smith: I decided to apply because Eagle Rock offered everything I had been wanting to be a part of in an organization. Eagle Rock offers a safe space for students to be themselves and a way to contribute to the world in a positive manner. The community is what convinced me that this is where I was supposed to be. The community welcomed me in with open arms and bright smiles.
ER:Where did you attend college and what did you study?
Jannai: I spent a year at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind., as a track athlete studying psychology and coaching basketball at West Vigo High School. In 2012, I transferred to Ball State University in Muncie, where I graduated with a degree in Organizational Communication and a minor in Sports Studies.
ER: Where did you grow up and what did you want to be when you grew up?
Jannai: I grew up in Lafayette, Ind., graduating from McCutcheon High School. I spent my summers in Indianapolis with my dad. Growing up I wanted to be everything: photographer, veterinarian, teacher. The one story that sticks with me most is my grandparents asking me, “Jannai, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I said, with firmness, “The President of the United States.” They laughed, but and said I’d be great at it!
ER: What super power do you possess or would you like to have?
Jannai: The Superpower that I seem to have is my ability to remember names and connect with others. I always joke with my colleagues that I’ll be God’s gatekeeper one day!
ER: What’s something most people would be surprised to know about you?
Jannai: How passionate I am about making a difference in young people’s lives, and the extent I would go to do that.
ER: What reality television show would you like to be on and why would you win or be the first person kicked off?
Jannai: I would go on The Challenge (originally known as Road Rules: All Stars, followed by Real World/Road Rules Challenge) because I’ve watched it since I was a kid and knew I could compete with them. I believe I could win if I played my cards right because I have a high endurance and a strong mentality and resilience.
ER: Please tell us about your hobbies or interests outside of work?
Jannai: My hobbies vary by the day, but I like to travel, coach, and do puzzles. My New Year’s Resolution was to travel once a month this year and so far, I’ve done so. Coaching is what I do to keep my sanity. It’s my passion. I love being able to positively impact young people’s lives through sports.