St. Thomas More Announces New Principal
By Bonnie Mentel
After a six-month search across four states, St. Thomas More School has a new principal. Randy Smith will officially join the school in July, but he will meet faculty members and students this week and will be introduced to the community, along with his wife Yvonne, at the end of weekend Masses on Feb. 10-11.
Smith currently serves as principal of Clearwater Creek Elementary in Olathe. At St. Thomas More he will be in charge of approximately 600 pre-K to 8th grade students and a staff of 60. The private Catholic school at 11800 Holmes Road has been operating with interim leadership since last fall.
A life-long Kansas resident, Smith grew up on a farm outside Tonganoxie, Kansas. His first position as a principal was at Lansing Elementary, and he has been employed as a principal in the Olathe School District for the past 20 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Kansas Wesleyan University and his Master of Science in Educational Administration from Emporia State University.
Smith and his wife have three adult children: Reed, a senior at Pittsburg State, Betsy, an employee with the city of Bonner Springs, and Emily Schmidt, a family and consumer science teacher at Mill Valley High School in De Soto, Kansas. The Smiths are expecting their first grandchild soon.
When asked what he is looking forward to about his new position at St. Thomas More School, Smith said, “Going from a public school to a Catholic or parochial school means that I’m going to get the opportunity to practice my faith as well as be able to lead others in prayer and instill many of the values that Jesus teaches us, as well as many of the Catholic values that everyone that attends St. Thomas Moore has.”
Smith desires to gain a full understanding of what the school is all about during his first year. He wants to focus on the many strengths and traditions that the school has and to build upon its mission of providing a welcoming, inclusive and loving community by proclaiming and living God’s word through worship, education and social justice.
“As I think of some of the guiding principles that I would like to see in that building, one of the first and most important to my heart is that we have the goal of every student in that building going to heaven, and we have that commitment to excellence and quality that I’m sure that many of our parents and stakeholders value and want,” he said.
Smith plans to encourage a teamwork environment where teachers work well with each other and with the parents and community members. He also recognizes that every student has a unique learning style and wants to meet their individual needs whenever possible.
“Not only am I excited about this position, but this is a position that I have prayed about and one that I’ve had my eye on. I was extremely pleased that the interview committee has given me this opportunity. Everything that I’ve had a chance to do so far in my visits to the building, as well as to Mass over in the parish, has exceeded my expectations,” Smith said.
For more information about St. Thomas More School, visit stmkc.com/school or call 816-942-5581.