Q: Why don’t we start off with you telling me a little bit about yourself?
A: So, my name is David H. Smith, I always use the H. because there are so many David Smiths in the world. I have lived in the Mountain View boundaries for the last almost thirty years. And, in fact, I have stayed in the Mountain View boundaries on purpose over the last thirty years. I have had six children who have all gone through Mountain View and finished here. I worked here as an assistant principal back about fifteen years ago. I was here for a few years, so I have just always loved Mountain View, and I’m very anxious and like I told Dr. Chun, kind of giddy to be coming back to Mountain View.
Q: What is it about MV that makes you giddy to come back?
A: The students, the kids that I’ve seen in the neighborhoods that I have lived in as well as the teachers that I’ve known. Many of them I am friends with and have worked with for years. And I like the culture of Mountain View; it’s just a good place to just kind of be. Every time I’ve walked in here for parent teacher conference, for a ball game, or for a choir concert or a play or whatever, it’s always a very good feeling and just good kids, good students, good people who work here
Q: Tell me a little about the job you had before you were assigned to Mountain View?
A: I have the job now that all the students are going to think is so cool, because I’m in charge of SAGE testing, so I get to make sure that all the students at Mountain View and every other school in the Alpine School District take the SAGE test, do it in the right way, and that the teachers know how to give it. I’m also in charge of the data behind it, so in other words, how are different schools doing? You know, if a school is really excelling we want to learn from that school. If a school is really struggling, we want to be able to give support to that school. So that’s the job I’ve had over the last eight years, at the district office . . . I work with graduation rates, I work with ACT and AP testing as well, and lots of other things, but the one that the students would know is that SAGE testing; that’s my baby.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about working here?
A: It’s great amounts of fun just being involved with all the activities, so it’s hard for me to say what’s the one thing that I’m most excited about. I’m really excited to come and say, “Ok, where are we at with learning? How can we get more kids learning more, being either college ready, and more college ready or career ready and more career ready?” I’m really excited to tackle that and say, “OK, what are we going to do for Mountain View students to make sure that when they leave this school they are ready for that next step?” I have had students, even my own children, who have hesitated with that, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this, Dad,” and, well, let’s make it so that when we leave Mountain View High School we know we’re ready for whatever it is that we’re going to pursue.
I’m also excited, to be honest, for the activities, whether it be a football game or a choir concert or a National Honor Society service project, or whatever it could be. I really like that kind of stuff and I’m excited for that too. And most of all, I just love working in a school and working with students. The last eight years of my life when I’ve told people, I say, “I’m going to work” because I work in an office. Now I can start saying, “Hey, I’m going to school.” There’s something about saying I’m going to school that’s kind of exciting.
Q: What will be the biggest challenge that you anticipate to face working here?
A: There’s going to be huge challenges over time. I know that Mountain View has had some of those challenges this year if you think back over the last few months. I think the biggest challenge is keeping focused on what’s the most important. Students are the most important. That’s what we’re all here for. How can we get them to where they are ready to, in a good way, kind of launch from Mountain View High School in a good emotional state, a good mental state, and a good academic state? Keeping focused on that and not letting the small things of the day and the small things of the school year get in the way of what’s most important. That’s probably the challenge for me.
Q: Do you anticipate making any changes next year already?
A: I am sure there will be some changes. Sometimes you are asked to make a decision, and you have to make a decision right then, and Dr. Chun might have made a different decision for Mountain View and now I (will be) asked to make the decision. But as far as wholesale things that people are going to say, “Wow, we’re starting at 9:00 now, and we get out at 12:00!” No. there won’t be any really huge changes.
I don’t know the in’s and out’s of Mountain View, kind of the details of Mountain View well enough to say I know what changes I’m going to make the first time I’m going to walk in here.
I do know that I love the students and I love the faculty and there may be something that changes a little bit because of my role in saying, “Thank you faculty, thank you students for what you do.” But I don’t know that we need to make any large huge changes at Mountain View.