Matt Smith is looking forward to the challenge that comes with being a principal. As the new school year begins, he has taken over that position at Swanton Middle School.
“This is my first principal position, so I am very excited to take on new obstacles,” said Smith.
A Paulding, Ohio native, Smith is starting his eighth year with Swanton Local Schools. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo.
After graduation, he taught at a charter school for two years while also coaching basketball at Start High School in Toledo. He then came to Swanton as a world studies/physical science teacher at the high school, where he also coached basketball.
Smith has been the varsity coach since then, and for the last three years served as Dean of Students and seventh grade science teacher at the middle school. While working at Swanton, he received his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University.
“I wanted to become a principal because I was ready for another challenge in my career,” he said. “I have always enjoyed serving in leadership positions. It doesn’t hurt that the staff at the middle school is awesome, and the previous principal left the school in a great place.”
Smith said that he has always thought he may want to someday become a principal. After being in education for a few years, he decided to seek his master’s degree.
Along with the staff, he said the great group of kids is what he likes best about the the school district.
“It’s a family atmosphere, and Swanton reminds me a lot of my hometown. Hard working families in a small town setting,” Smith said. “I feel our students match up favorably to any schools in the state.”
Among his goals for this year is readying students for high school.
“I want to help as many students reach to their potential as possible; improve technology to help our students succeed as high schoolers,” Smith said. “(And) make sure our middle school students are academically and socially prepared to enter high school by the end of their eighth grade year.”
Superintendent Jeff Schlade said Smith’s time in the district should help make for a smooth transition as he takes over for former principal Ted Haselman, now the superintendent for Pike-Delta-York Local Schools.
“Having served as the Dean of Students for Ted for the past three years, Matt has the knowledge and background of the administration of the middle school needed for a smooth change,” Schlade said. “Those experiences, coupled with his coaching background, provide him the tools to be a successful building leader. Mr. Smith already enjoys the respect of the community and students from his performance as a solid head basketball coach which gives him the credibility and confidence needed to get off on the right foot.”
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise