Shanaal Smothers has been blessed with a colorful, full life, and she is excited about what is yet to come. She was baptized at age 10, after coming to the startling realization that “I had sinned, and I meant to do.” It took her a few weeks of “tortured indecision” to build up her courage, but she finally decided to give her life to Christ. Since that day, the road has certainly been bumpy at times, but Shanaal affirms that the Lord has been lavishly kind to her.
Describing herself as an “ever-learning, Jesus-loving dreamer,” Shanaal has lived and worked in a diverse array of areas and fields. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Duke University, with a double major in biomedical and electrical engineering. After graduation, she served on a mission team in Mexico City, Mexico, where she learned Spanish and helped plant and build new congregations. Two years later, Shanaal returned to the US and began recruiting, managing, and training volunteers, as well as tutoring children for various organizations in her community. She returned to school to earn a Master of Education degree in educational psychology from the University of Georgia. While in graduate school, Shanaal spent a summer learning and teaching women in the Costa Rican rainforest. She also provided professional development opportunities for ESOL teachers in Gwinnett County, GA, taught a required course for undergraduate education majors, designed and taught a weekly free ESOL class in her community, and worked with children and mission teams in Guatemala, and Haiti. Shanaal moved to Irving, TX in 2008 to restructure the children’s ministry at the South MacArthur Church of Christ. During this time, she learned how to fight and flourish as a leader, while helping to shape the faith of those around her. In 2012, the Institute of International Education, under the US Department of State, awarded her a Fulbright grant to teach at a university in Ecuador, South America for a year. Upon her return to the States, Shanaal was blessed to serve as one of the educational architects of the Living Water Learning Resource Center in Atlanta, GA which built strategic alliances amongst community organizations and provided an innovative, therapeutic environment for the healing and empowerment of survivors of sex-trafficking. In 2015, Shanaal moved to Texas to serve as the Children’s Ministry director for the Duncanville (GracePlace) Church of Christ. She now serves as a teacher at Village Tech Schools, a charter school that was started by members at Duncanville Church of Christ.