Smith takes helm at DHSPublished 12:28pm Thursday, September 5, 2013
Pat Smith has found teachers, support personnel, students and parents much to his liking since he took over as principal at Danville High School in July.
That’s not surprising since Smith spent 10 of his 17 years at the school teaching marketing and cooperative education and coaching football.
“I’ve said if I had the opportunity to go to any high school in the Morgan County system as principal, this is were I wanted to be.” Smith stated. “Danville is a good school. Its staff and students work hard and its teachers show great leadership and really care about their students. On top of that community support is very strong.”
Smith said the school has gotten off to a good start even though a rise in enrollment has created challenges in some classrooms.
“Our numbers are heavy at the bottom,” he said, “with 128 freshmen compared to 88 seniors. We expect this to continue with an eighth grade enrollment of 127 students.
“This means we have over 30 students in some classrooms. Growth is good, but the state allocates teacher units based on prior year enrollment. We hope to get a couple of additional teacher units next year.”
Smith said his vision for Danville High could be summed up by one word, ”excellence.”
“I don’t expect more out of the teachers and students that I do from myself,” Smith pointed out. “I want all of the kids to graduate and have the opportunity to go on and be all they can be no matter what field of endeavor they pursue.”
Smith said retired principal Gilmer Ellis was a big help in making his transition as principal a smooth one.
“He was such a great force for education here so long and his main concern has been and still is what’s best for the students, Smith said. “We still communicate from time to time and he is very helpful with his advice and counsel.”
Smith started his education career at Hartselle High School in 1996 as a nine and one-half month marketing and cooperative education teacher and assistant football coach. He moved to Danville High four years later in the same position under a 12-month contract. Recently, he was principal at Falkville Elementary School for three years.
A graduate of Falkville High School, he attended Auburn University where he played football for three seasons as a walk-on scholarship recipient and earned a B.S. degree in agricultural education. He later attended UAB where he earned a master’s degree and AA certificate in educational leadership.
Smith and his wife Kimberly, a first grade teacher at Crestline Elementary School, have a daughter, 11, a sixth grader at Hartselle Intermediate School.