• 72°

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

BREAKING NEWS

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide