BEARDSTOWN — The incoming superintendent for the Beardstown school district is excited to get started and become immersed in the Beardstown culture, he said.
After taking time off to travel with his wife, Shannon, for the past two years, Smith is ready to step back into the school halls.
“I was only going to take a year off and then COVID hit and it was harder to find a job,” Smith said.
After his wife took a job with the New Berlin School District, Smith began looking more in the west-central and central region. Then the opportunity at Beardstown presented itself.
While interviewing with the board and touring the school, Smith felt it would be a good fit for him, he said.
“There are two kinds of districts: one that acts as if you are lucky to work for them; and the second is thankful for the people that work in the district,” Smith said. “During the interview, you could tell they were proud of their staff and were very complimentary of their coaches, staff and their students.”
However, one of the biggest things Smith is looking forward to is the diversity in the community.
“In Tuscola, we didn’t have a lot of diversity, so I’m looking forward to that,” Smith said.
Smith started in the education field in 1995 as a teacher and coach for the Oakland school district. He was a teacher for the district until 2003, when he became its K-12 principal.
He became Oakland superintendent in 2007 and served for four years before taking a job as Tuscola school district’s superintendent. He remained there until 2019.
Smith received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Greenville College in 1989, a master’s degree in educational administration from Eastern Illinois University in 1999, and his specialization in superintendency from EIU in 2005.
He will officially begin in Beardstown on July 1, taking over for Ron Gilbert.
Smith said he is excited to start his new role.
“I’ve worked in the same area for most of my career, so I’m looking forward to the new places, seeing new school,” he said.
Though he said it will take time to adjust, he is looking forward to working with the staff and school board to learn about Beardstown.
“It will take time to figure out Beardstown and its culture and staff,” Smith said. “Luckily, there are people there that have the experience to help me as I adjust.”
Dealing with the post-COVID-19 atmosphere likely will be one of the largest challenges, Smith said.
Because he left Tuscola in 2019 to travel, Smith does not have the experience of education in a COVID-19 environment, he said. While he will work with staff and maintain all guidelines going into next school year, Smith hopes he’ll be able to help reinvigorate the staff, he said.
“Educators are tired and I’m hoping my excitement can rub off on them,” Smith said.
via Jacksonville Journal-Courier
April 15, 2021 at 06:52AM