After spending almost three decades in education in Lincoln County, Bruce Smith is taking on a new role.
He retired from Lincoln County Schools six years ago, then successfully ran for the Lincoln County School Board and was elected chairman. Then he decided to aim for superintendent after the position came open this year. Smith began leading the district as superintendent on July 1.
When he decided to pursue a career in education nearly 30 years ago, Smith said, he did so because of a passion for helping people.
“I wanted to help make Lincoln County a better place,” he said. “[I] felt like there was no better way to do so than by working for our school district.”
During his time working for the district, he gained valuable experience in different roles. He began as a classroom teacher at McKinney Elementary, then spent time in administrative roles such as supervisor of migrant education, adult education, community education, extended school services, Title I, Title II, Title III, Title IV, textbooks and the homeless program.
Smith also served in some of the district’s top-ranking roles, as the director of pupil personnel, director of student information systems, director of school nutrition and as the district contact for Family Resource Youth Service Centers.
Now, as he embarks on this new path in education, Smith said he plans to continue his mission of making Lincoln County better.
“I have several goals and things I hope to accomplish in my first year on the job,” he said.
One focus will be on empowering staff and improving student experiences.
“I am eager to continue building both the instructional and leadership capacities of our staff,” he said. “These are two of the most important responsibilities we have, because they yield the greatest returns on student learning.”
Smith feels confident that can happen, pointing to the school system’s support from the community.
“Our greatest asset is our staff and community support,” he said. “Lincoln County, as a community, will do everything it can to support its students, from the classroom to the sports fields.”
Smith recognizes Lincoln County faces a number of challenges.
“One of our biggest challenges is figuring out a fiscally responsible way to begin addressing the needs of our facility plan,” he said. “I am excited to discuss possibilities with our school board by doing our best to provide our students, staff and community modernized facilities that will enable a better learning environment.”
As he looks to the future, Smith said he never forgets the people who helped him reach this point in his career.
“Several teachers and administrators made a huge impact on my life, several of them I still consider close friends today,” he said.