• July 9, 2020

Smith takes on Pease as principal - Odessa American: Education

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Smith takes on Pease as principal

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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2019 6:30 pm

Although Kamye Smith comes from a long line of educators, she started off with Child Protective Services for a decade before going into the field.

Now the new principal at Pease Elementary, she has taught in Midland and Odessa and been a campus curriculum facilitator and assistant principal. She has been with ECISD for almost 11 years.

A native of Crane, Smith went to Abilene Christian University where she was a feature twirler and then transferred to Midwestern State in Wichita Falls where she continued as a feature twirler.

“I always had a passion for kids and just their well being and showing them a broader future, so I wanted to go in and do something with children and families. I was raised by educators. My mother was a diagnostician and worked in special ed for a number of years in Crane. Then my father was a physical science teacher, a coach, “all kinds of things down in Crane,” she said.

Working for Child Protective Services, Smith said she found during her investigations when she would interview teachers they knew a lot about the students in their care and had made an investment in them.

“I decided I wanted to be a part of that and I decided to go through the alternative certification through Region 18 (Education Service Center) and that’s how I got my certification to become a teacher,” Smith said.

She enjoys being at the foundational level of students’ educational careers at the elementary level. Smith wanted to be a principal out of a love of children, wanting to invest in teachers, help them grow and make “us a great school and a great district.”

Smith said her background with CPS helps in her job.

“When I came into education, I thought well you’re just a teacher but like I said, through my years of CPS and just talking with teachers I saw that they were different. They were social workers, they were counselors, they were all those things. They were parents. They were the caretakers of them a lot of times in addition to educators, so I wanted to invest in that. I wanted to be a part of that. That’s where I see that education is more than just learning. It’s more than just that job. There are many hats to be worn,” Smith said.

Smith has been married to Odessa Police Department Lt. Darryl Smith for 16 years. They have six children together, plus two grandsons and one on the way.

“I’m blessed with many children and just in a job that is surrounded by kids,” she said.  

Pease is projected to have about 527 students in grades prekindergarten through second. In an interview in early August, Smith said there were 30 to 32 teachers and she had openings.

“I think that with the staff in their experience and their expertise and knowledge of the kids and what they can do on the campus, I think that we have a good foundation with them and that we have a good start for this year,” Smith said.

She said she hopes to instill a love of learning and rigor and build foundational skills for students to become lifelong learners.

Asked about the new district leadership, including Superintendent Scott Muri, she said she thinks they are fantastic. She also appreciates the set up with executive directors for elementary and secondary education that principals can contact directly when they need support.

“I think that they’re on the right path. … I think that this is the point where we’re going to move the district where we need to go. … They’re really listening to the campus leaders. They’re really listening to the teachers and the students and the community of where we need to go with education and I think the key people are in the right places to make that happen,” Smith said.

One of those executive directors of elementary education, Alicia Press, said Smith will do a wonderful job at Pease.

“And we’re excited for the future of Pease under her leadership,” Press said.

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