Eliot Smith named Oklahoma's Assistant Principal of the Year

posted Nov 16, 2018, 12:26 PM by Granger Meador   [ updated Nov 16, 2018, 12:29 PM ]
Eliot Smith, the assistant principal at Bartlesville High School who supervises the Freshman Academy, has been named the 2018 Oklahoma Assistant Principal of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of Secondary School Principals (OASSP).

“We are excited to have Eliot Smith's contributions to our district recognized by OASSP and CCOSA,” said BPS superintendent Chuck McCauley. “As the leader of our Freshman Academy since its inception in 2015, Mr. Smith has led his staff to create a school-within-a-school that helps students transition from middle school to high school. He is a true servant leader who prioritizes children and their learning. Our students, staff, and community are fortunate to benefit from his dedication, patience, and professionalism.”

Being the assistant principal for Freshman Academy has allowed Mr. Smith to closely connect with the freshman students. He makes them feel welcomed, appreciated, and heard during their first year of high school. For instance, he recognizes a male and female Student of the Month. Freshman Academy teachers nominate students each month for the Student of the Month Award. Teachers vote on nominated students and the male and female students with the most votes are awarded certificates and an off-campus lunch. Mr. Smith believes positive teacher-student relationships have played a large role in bringing greater success to students in the freshman classes. He and his team have also reduced the freshman retention rate from 52 students in 2016-17 to 28 students in 2017-18.

Mr. Smith consistently strives to have positive relationships with his students and the other staff members. “Eliot masterfully and more importantly, genuinely develops positive/nurturing relationships with students, teachers, and parents,” said Jason Langham, Executive Director of Special Services & High School. “These strong relationships help him when dealing with the day-to-day issues in the assistant principal’s office and assist him in leveraging affinities when necessary and prudent.”

“I believe in the three R’s: rigor, relevance, and relationships,” said Mr. Smith. “Through the three R’s, I want our teachers to provide a quality education that challenges students, engages students and relates to students. I encourage our teachers to provide a learning experience that takes students out of their comfort zones.”

Mr. Smith actively portrays his positive leadership skills by continuously interacting with and involving the teachers at Bartlesville High School. “I’m so excited for Mr. Smith,” said LaDonna Chancellor, principal at Bartlesville High School. “He is so deserving of this honor. He cares about every student, believes in each one, and will not give up on them. He leads with a positive attitude and humility. I’m fortunate to get to work with him.”

Mr. Smith attends Data Team meetings to assess the objectives that teachers are using and how their performance is measured. This provides an opportunity for him to observe teachers who demonstrate best teaching practices that are a positive influence on students. He is regularly engaging with teachers to make sure they are on the same path and all lessons and activities benefit each student at the Freshman Academy.

“I feel that a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students is the best form of professional development available,” said Mr. Smith.

“Assistant principals play a pivotal role in leading and supporting schools, and Eliot Smith is an excellent example of the hard work, dedication, and creativity that principals across Oklahoma are applying to their work,” said Will Parker, OASSP executive director. “We are proud to recognize him as a role model for his school community and all Oklahoma school leaders.”

Mr. Smith is eligible to become one of three finalists to be named as contenders for the National Assistant Principal of the Year award. A judging panel will choose finalists based on their written applications, data provided and letters of recommendation, according to the National Association for Secondary School Principals.
Eliot Smith