Community reacts to Smith’s departure

Published 12:37 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The recent news of Prince Edward School Superintendent Dr. David Smith leaving his post is drawing reaction from the Farmville and Prince Edward community.

“I always took him to be a good, reliable person,” said Howard Simpson, who represents Farmville District 101 on the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors, which he serves as board chairman. “I wish him well.” 

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Simpson said that Smith did a good job operating the county’s school division.

Smith has served as division superintendent for the last six years, according to his statement announcing his departure to the school board.

“I would definitely say we’re grateful for the good things Dr. Smith brought to the school,” said Heather Edwards, co-founder of Support Prince Edward’s Schools, a grassroots organization of parents seeking ways to support and improve the schools.

She said although the organization is thankful for what Smith has done for the school division, they look forward to what’s next.

Edwards said she believes the local community has a lot to offer potential candidates for division superintendent, and the search could be an opportunity to hire someone focused on building partnerships between the schools and the community.

“We appreciate the services he has provided up until this point,” said Russell Dove, who serves as chairman of the county’s school board, representing the Buffalo District.

Dove said the board was pleased with improvements, such as decreasing dropout rates and becoming fully accredited at the high school. However, he said he personally wished the administration would have been more aggressive in developing career and technical education program offerings.

Edwards said the search for a new superintendent will open the door to move forward even more and improve the school system. “There’s no reason to look backwards,” Edwards said. “I thank Dr. Smith for what he did, and let’s look forward.”

According to Dove, Smith provided the school board with ample notice to find a replacement, and the process will begin after Jan. 1.

“I am grateful for the time and energy Dr. Smith gave to our schools, and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Liz Magill, chair of the Prince Edward Public School Endowment (PEPSE). “I look forward to working with the new superintendent — whoever she or he may be — as the chair of PEPSE, and making connections between Prince Edward schools and our community.”

Jennifer Kinne, who serves alongside Edwards in the newly established grassroots group, said, “I think Dr. Smith has done some really great things … He was a presence in the buildings.”

She said Smith was always supportive of extracurricular activities at the school and attended events frequently.

“I’m excited to see what happens next,” Kinne said.

Smith’s contract will end on June 30.