Thursday, March 3, 2016

Proud to Lead at LNC

I am a first-generation college graduate.  I am a Millennial.  I am always a teacher and a coach.  I am a Lifelong Learner and a Connected Educator.  For many, I am the "Twitter guy."

I am a husband.  I am "Daddy".

Lake Norman Charter High School: I am proud to say that I'm your Principal.

On July 1st, I took the reins as Interim Principal of Lake Norman Charter High School. (See: First Day as a 'Knight').  

The past eight months have been filled with abundant experience of "firsts": First-year Principal, first-year at Lake Norman Charter, first-year in the NC Charter System.

While the learning curve has been sharp, my long-term aspirations to serve as Principal never tempered.  
Frequently, people stop me and ask how the school-year has been going, how do I like it, etc.  My responses are quite consistent, in how everything was going very well for me, but it only mattered if the year was going well for their respective student and family.

There are two principals, unaffiliated with LNC, who must be recognized, as they are both pertinant to this opportunity being afforded upon me.

First, I have to thank Dr. M. Louise Jones, former Principal of Hopewell High School, for providing a wide-range of leadership opportunities in the early stages of my administrative career.  She entrusted me to become an inclusive member of the administrative team during my principal internship, allowing me to teach half-day and be fully ensconced in administrative responsibilities the other 50% of the day.  I was able to gain invaluable experience with authentic day-to-day school leadership experience.

Her trust continued with my evolution into the Dean of Students role, where my responsibilities were no different than our Assistant Principal's.  It would have been very comfortable for Dr. Jones to have me remain in the high-demand capacity as a math teacher.  There's not a week that goes by where I don't reflect upon those opportunities permitted by Dr. Jones and I am forever grateful of how these opportunities immediately jump-stared my career as a school leader.

Next, words cannot truly express the amount of gratitude I owe Joey Clinton, my Principal at Ashbrook High School from 2011-2015.  His trust, dedication, and efforts to allow me to grow professionally and personally were a blessing beyond what I could have expected when I decided to join him as the new leadership team of Ashbrook in 2011.  I can say with certainty that Joey's support and bestowed leadership opportunities put me into a position to be considered and selected as Principal of Lake Norman Charter.  He's a mentor, a colleague, and a friend.

My gratefulness magnifies when I look back at the past eight months.  Superintendent Shannon Stein has served as a tremendous resource and mentor through my recent acclimation to our school.  Moreover, Assistant Principal Terri Costa has been essential to establishing my comfort and our continuing our success through the Interim period.
State Superintendent and I visit a Biology class in October.

In addition, appropriate and necessary gratitude must be extended to the entire Lake Norman Charter community, including, but not limited to: students, parents, and faculty.  Your support has been tremendous and as a result, we have collectively developed strong relationships and open rapport.  I am eager to continue these relationships in the future.

A very unique inquiry was presented during the interview process.  They asked, through my experience as Lake Norman Charter as the Interim Principal, or even during my administrative career, possibly through a very challenging time or situation, had I ever "considered doing anything else?"

I paused, reflected for a moment and responded with the genuine truth:

"I haven't thought about doing anything else since I was 14 years old.  It may sound cliche', but I can honestly say I've never considered doing anything else.

I've dreamed about being a high school principal and it's always been what I've wanted to do."

I am one of the extremely fortunate individuals who absolutely love what they do.

At tonight's (March 3, 2016) Board of Directors Meeting, the recommendation and approval was made for me to be permanently appointed Principal of Lake Norman Charter High School.

The expectations for our students should align with the expectations we have for ourselves as educators, and especially as the Lead Learner of the Lake Norman Charter High School.  Therefore, I am forthcoming to Embrace the Expectations.

I could not be more honored to have the privilege to learn, lead, and serve together for the immediate and promising future.


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The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.


  1. We are so proud to have you as our principal. This blog post was AWESOME and inspiring. How wonderful to have this kind of passion and commitment in someone leading our kids.

  2. Congratulations! I'm so happy it's you! Your passion is contagious, and the students absolutely love you. Excited to see what the future holds for LNCHS with you as principal!

  3. Congratulations, Craig! I'm so glad everything has worked out and that you'll be with us for the foreseeable future!

  4. We are so honored to have you help us learn, lead, and serve. I am overjoyed to hear that you are living the dream being the principle for LNC. Your smiles and positivity everyday is infectious to us students and we couldn't have asked for a better principle! Keep up the great work! :)