Keith Smith, took over as the Rainier Beach High School principal this summer and is one quarter into his first year at the helm. Smith is a con- scientious and hardworking principal with a broad educational background.
Smith says he really enjoys operat- ing and connecting with the students and staff here at RBHS and honestly cares about what’s going on here.
“I love Rainier Beach, and after being here and getting to know the teachers and the infrastructure, I think we have the recipe to go from good to great,” said Smith.
He also says that he is 100 percent invested in Beach because he connect- ed with the community, and is pleased to be here.
Smith originally moved from Flint, Michigan, to southern California, and then finally to Seattle. He has two sons; Keith, who graduated from RBHS and is currently attending the University of Oregon on a basketball scholarship; and Steven, who is pres- ently a sophomore at Beach.
Smith attended Loyola Marymount University in California, and gradu- ated with a number of degrees. He speaks very highly about the school boasting about its beautiful architec- ture and amazing view. His degrees include a BA in economics, a teaching degree, an administrative degree, a professional certification degree, and a master’s degree.
On top of that, Smith has a long administrative and teaching history. His education career includes five years at Marshal Alternative, he then moved to Meany Middle school for a year, next was Franklin High School for four years, and most recently was Southlake for another year.
When talking about his goals he explains that, “It’s not what I hope to change, but what we all collectively, both the students and the staff want to change.”
He feels that RBHS could be the best high school, but you can’t accomplish anything on your own. Though he does feel like everyone is in this to- gether, he also says that he brings in a wealth of experience and knowledge bringing systems into place, and the understanding that you need quality people working around you and your young people.
Many teachers have high praises for the new principal, both his goals and his means of implementing them.
History teacher, Evan Tomchick, who admitted that he doesn’t know Smith well, said that he has a clear vi- sion for the school, and that since he’s been here many policies have either been hammered down, or have been more polished than in previous years. He also recalls having Smith’s oldest son Steven in his class last year.
“If his son is a reflection of his abili- ties then two thumbs up,” said Tomchick.
The high praises continue with computer science teacher Matt Holt as well. He says he likes how “by the book” the principal is and that he has systems in place that the school needs to conform to for the good of the school. He also likes that he’s not laid back.
“He believes that his way is the right way, and so far it’s been the right way,” said Holt. History teacher Christina Black had more of the same admirable descriptions. She agrees with his goals of taking the school from good to great.
“I really like how efficient he is and his attention to detail,” said Black. “I like his straightforwardness.”
Black says she thinks that she has a lot to learn to see where he is taking us in the long run. She describes him as a strong leader and is excited to see him out in classrooms a lot more.
Students at RBHS have also taken note of the new principal. “Because I don’t know him as well as the last [principal] , I don’t trust him as much, but he’s pretty cool,” said sophomore Tyone’a White.
Students who have been here longer are taking more time to adjust to Smith’s leadership style.
“He kind of scares me and is kind of annoying,” said senior Walala Adam who’s been at Beach her entire high school career. “When you see a student in the hallway, you’re supposed to be like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ instead of yelling for a pass. He’s supposed to be more fun and more involved with students.”