• 66°

Spirit of Rowan: Career in education: Andrew Smith worked his way from teaching to administration

Andrew Smith went to China Grove-area schools, graduated from South Rowan High School and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree and a master’s from Wake Forest University.

He later went on to earn a master’s certificate and his doctorate in educational leadership from Johns Hopkins University.

Smith, 34, began his education career teaching at East Rowan High School. He taught biology and forensics. At the time, he was interested in integrating technology with education and wanted to work his way up in administration.

When Lynn Moody became superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools in 2013, he applied for an executive director of technology position with the district. At 26, he was interested but did not really expect to get the job.

He was surprised when he made it through the first and second round of interviews, but then Moody pulled him aside to tell him the position did not seem to fit him. She wanted him on her team. He later became director of innovation for the district. A few years later, his title was changed and he was promoted to assistant superintendent of transformation during the summer of 2020.

In high school, Smith wanted to be a doctor, but one of his high school mentors told him she thought he would be a teacher. He doubted her. Sitting in an organic chemistry class at Wake Forest, he remembers thinking he could explain something being outlined by the professor better.

“That’s kind of a weird thought,” Smith said.

He called that teacher from high school after that day and asked her more about teaching. He became particularly interested in high school students.

He laid out his career trajectory in a notebook. He planned to be a teacher for five years, become an assistant principal, a principal, director, assistant superintendent and so on until he reached the U.S. Department of Education.

He realized later, like many bright college students who go on a career path with strict goals, that life is not so linear or easy to plan.

“If you follow paths like that, you miss all kinds of opportunities,” Smith said. “Honestly, if I just followed the path I set out for myself when I was a master’s student at Wake in ‘09, I would not be where I am today.”

Smith said he never thought he would be in such a position and that plan he made has been in the trash for a while now.

Smith lived in Winston-Salem for a time, but moved back to Landis to enroll his own kids in RSS, which he thinks is important.

He loves policy and wants to head toward the political arena later in life so he can implement policy that would have a broad impact on the country’s education system, but those aspirations are far off. His third child is on the way and he is concerned with trying to support the new superintendent as well as make the district’s renewal status a success.

Smith also loves to teach, and found the relationship to his students to be the most important part of that.

Comments

Crime

Blotter: Oct. 27

Crime

Man faces charges in juvenile’s shooting on West Bank Street

Education

RSS gets clean audit, firm says no misappropriations of school funds

News

Rowan County recalibrates plans for Woodleaf Community Park after missing out on grant funding

News

NC NAACP elects first woman as president; Salisbury’s Black finishes third

Coronavirus

FDA OKs Pfizer vaccine for young kids

News

State news roundup: Davidson County parents charged in abuse of 6-week-old

Coronavirus

COVID spread down substantially in North Carolina, state data shows

Sports

ACC eyes new headquarters options outside Greensboro

Local

Rabid raccoon break-in forces Dan Nicholas Park staff to euthanize three animals

Business

Real estate agent takes advantage of hot High Rock Lake market, earns award for $10 million in transactions

High School

High school girls golf: Mustangs finish 4th in 3A state tournament

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family

Crime

Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door