SUBMITTED By CHEROKEE CENTRAL SCHOOLS
Kathy Wolfe, Chair of the Cherokee Central School Board , announced recently that James L. Smith, EdD, an EBCI tribal member, has been hired as the Assistant Director of Education.
Smith taught for 16 years as the Woodcarving Instructor for Cherokee High School. While teaching full time he also worked on completing college degrees earning a doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2008 from Oakland City University, Oakland City, Indiana.
Smith is a well known, accomplished sculptor in the local, regional and national levels his artistic influence can be found in the many works of his students.
From 2002-2005, along with his teaching duties, he served on the Steering Committee as Chair for the Cherokee Art Institute, then as Project Director for the establishment of a two-year art institute on the Qualla Boundary. He led the collaboration project with the Institute of American Indian Arts in the development of the five year, four phase business plan that was presented to Tribal Council. This effort led to the development of the Oconaluftee Art Institute.
Smith said upon his appointment, “I welcome the opportunity to serve our students in this capacity. I am dedicated to them and to their learning at their maximum potential. I also welcome the opportunity to work with other administrators and staff in the system to collaborate on how we can continue to make improvements and build upon our successes. And lastly, I welcome the opportunity to work with our parents, as they are the key to our success.”
Joyce Dugan, current Director of Education said, “the hiring of Smith is evidence that the ‘Grow your own’ program is working. This program was initiated in the Cherokee School System by the School Board in 2008 and was designed to encourage and support the staff in their educational advancement efforts to prepare them for leadership roles in the school. The guiding principle of the program is to build your leadership capacity from wihtin, with those who have proven their commitment to our children and the community. Mr. Smith was selected from a field of nine candidates from within the school all of whom were intereviewed and demonstrated educational knowledge and leadership potential. Having known him for many years, I have confidence in his dedication and commitment to our school and feel that he is prepared to lead our school system to the next level.”