As we begin the search for the 2012 Notary of the Year to be honored at next year’s Conference in San Diego, the NNA takes a look back at past distinguished NOTY recipients over the years. This week’s profile is 2004 NOTY Jamie Johns-Smith.
Since she was honored as Notary of the Year in 2004, Jamie Johns-Smith has relocated from California to Louisiana where she’s taken on several new challenges, advanced her career as a Notary Public, and became an instructor at a prestigious university where she shares her vast Notary knowledge with others.
With her training, Notary expertise and NNA honor in tow, Johns-Smith obtained a new commission under Louisiana’s unique civil law Notary code to protect the transactions of citizens in her new home state. “The civil law system here in Louisiana has different duties and training requirements for Notaries than in California,” she said. “Becoming a Notary here was a challenge — I took classes for 3 months and then a five-hour exam. After that I had to take a breath, it was a lot!”
Today, Johns-Smith is employed by Southern University in Shreveport where she teaches civil law Notary procedures and mortgage closing classes to help others learn the state’s unique Notary laws and procedures.
She has remained deeply committed to the Notary of the Year tradition of helping those in need, particularly the disabled. Because she is trained in American Sign Language, she specifically reaches out to hearing-impaired signers in her area to offer them Notary services.
“I do everything I can to increase awareness of the importance of Notaries and best practices in my area, and the Notary of the Year honor helps me propel it forward,” she said. “I’d love to expand to teaching online classes in adjoining states like Texas and Arkansas. Being a Notary is just something that’s in me.”