When Centre USD Superintendent Brian Smith accepted the invitation to move to Centre from Wilson, he didn’t know that in a few short weeks, his father, Bruce Smith of Peabody, would become ill and die.
However, one of the reasons he took the job was to be closer to home. Now he is able to see his mother frequently and help her when needed.
“The first few weeks of school went very smooth,” he said. “The students are great, and the teachers are doing a good job.”
Smith is in his first year as a district superintendent. He also serves as principal for all grades. He said it is challenging to wear so many different hats.
“It’s difficult and time-consuming,” he said.
He was quick to note that even teachers in a small school must wear many different hats. He said flexibility is a necessary trait to accommodate the differing roles required by all school personnel.
At age 39, Smith is one of the youngest district superintendents in the state. He graduated from Peabody-Burns High School in 1992 and went on to earn degrees in secondary education social studies and secondary education geography from Kansas State University.
After obtaining a math endorsement, he taught at Argonia for eight years, during which time he earned an administrative degree at Friends University in Wichita. He was the kindergarten-through-12th-grade principal at Wilson from 2005 until last spring. In the meantime, he earned a district level master of education degree from Friends.
Smith feels comfortable with his new position.
“Wilson is very in-depth on technology,” he said, “and when I looked at this district, it had things similar that I was comfortable with.”
He said he was in a school that was 30 miles away from the district office, so he often acted as a quasi-superintendent.
He is interested in continuing to find alternative ways to do curriculum, such as a Walton-type school and project-based learning.
“There’s a lot we can do with project-based learning activities like they’ve done here,” he said. “The teachers and the board are open to new ideas and want to make this a place that is good for all of us.”
Smith credits the people he has worked with throughout his career for allowing him to come to this point in his life.
“Life goes as well as the people you work with,” he said.
Smith and his wife, Nissa, have three children: two daughters, Jordan, 12, a seventh-grader, and Audrey, 8, a second-grader; and one son, Taylor, 10, a fifth-grader.