A familiar face is returning to Midway Independent School District after being gone for only seven months.
District officials have named Alison Smith as the new principal for Midway High School, pending her approval by the district’s board of trustees expected later this month, Midway spokesperson Traci Marlin said Friday.
Smith was an associate principal at Midway High School from 2012-16 and an assistant principal from 2009-12. She started with the district in 2002.
“That (experience) is a bonus for us as a school district and as an administrator,” Superintendent George Kazanas said Friday. “In terms of having the experience of the district, you don’t lose time in terms of transition. She knows the people and she knows the families of many of the students. She’s able to hit the job running when she comes on board with us.”
The district is working with Smith’s current employer to work through the transition once the board approves her, Marlin said. Smith anticipates her start date to be about Feb. 28, she said. Smith has been serving as principal of Canyon High School in Comal Independent School District since July, according to a Midway ISD press release.
Smith accepted the Canyon position a few months before former principal Jeff Gasaway left in August to serve as an assistant superintendent in Marble Falls Independent School District.
Smith will replace interim Principal Brent Merritt, who will return to his duties as Midway’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Smith started with Midway in 2002 as a kindergarten assistant at Speegleville Elementary, then moved up to become a high school biology teacher and coach. Smith then transitioned to a high school testing coordinator position before her time as assistant principal, then associate principal.
‘The dream job’
“It’s like coming home,” Smith said Friday afternoon. “It’s the dream job I’ve always wanted. The district has an impeccable record, and I’m really looking forward to being part of that again.”
Smith already has a vision for the campus, but not one that involves sweeping changes, she said. Midway High School already has high standards for academics, fine arts and athletics programs, and Smith wants to continue that success, tweaking certain elements here or there to take the campus from being a good school to a great school, she said. She would put Midway High’s academics up against any school in the state, and she wants to continue focusing on that for any student who may walk through the door, she said.
Kazanas said Midway High School is a natural fit for Smith, and it wasn’t just her connection to Midway ISD that earned her the position.
“I think one of the things is that she has experience in secondary schools. It goes without saying. She is a principal of another large 6A school. Experience is what she brought to the table, and it’s different when you’re an associate principal and assistant principal. It’s made her a stronger leader and stronger principal,” Kazanas said. “She values her high expectations in academics and athletics, and saw value in what Midway provides, and she can now articulate that as a leader.”
And just as Smith is looking forward to returning to a familiar place, staff at Midway High School are just as excited to have her back.
Kim Landon, a Midway High School Spanish teacher, has known Smith for 13 years, since Landon started in the district. Landon said Smith is a kind and compassionate educator with a heart for children, a heart for teachers and a heart for the families she serves.
“I think she’ll be an absolutely phenomenal leader, and I think working with Becky Odajima as her associate (principal) will be a powerhouse that can’t be beaten,” Landon said.