A new year, a familiar face

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Debbie Smith will be Chamisa Elementary’s new principal

By Kirsten Laskey

Although new school years often bring in new faces to administrative teams and staff, a familiar face will greet Chamisa Elementary School students as their principal at the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

Debbie Smith has taught at Chamisa Elementary for 17 years. Most recently, she has taught sixth-grade but has also taught third through fifth grades.

“I feel like (Chamisa) has been a home for me,” she said. “I’ve been involved in watching it change and grow.”

She also said that Chamisa is a real neighborhood school where the education team is not just teachers but also the community.

Smith said she feels good about assuming leadership over this team and now that her new position is official, she said she feels “really good.” Smith added once she decides to do something, she goes right after it.

“I’m excited to start contacting staff members, parents and get started,” she said.

Though she initially began her career in business, education “is my favorite career,” Smith said.

During college Smith explained that women were encouraged to break into the male-dominated world of business so when she had the opportunity to pursue her education degree, she was excited.

Smith became certified at The University of New Mexico and is currently working toward her master’s degree in administration through the university. She is also Nationally Board Certified.

Superintendent Gene Schmidt said he is eager for the public to see just how right Smith is for the job.

“I’m delighted the community will quickly realize Mrs. Smith brings exceptional talents to her role of building principal,” he said. “Her experience in the building and tremendous background and effective instructional models will be well received.

“There’s no stopping Chamisa now.”

“I’m so excited and now I can’t wait for summer to be over,” Smith said. She is set to roll up her sleeves and get to work.

“I hope to continue to build on the real strong community feeling (and I) plan to be transparent (and) commit to activities that bring staff, parents and students together to celebrate on the first day of school,” she said. “I want to have a celebration on the first day of school instead of the last.”

She added, “I hope that the parents, students and staff will always feel informed. What we’re doing is really in the kids’ best interest.”

There is already a great system in place at Chamisa. “I think we have the most professional educators,” Smith commented. “We have people who think and reflect on topics that are important to the children … the whole community (has a) love of learning (and a) love of excelling. She added, “It’s energizing to be a part of this community.”