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Principal named for Monticello Trails Middle School

Photograph of Jennifer Smith, who was named the next principal for Monticello Trails Middle School.Unified School District No. 232 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, announced Ms. Jennifer Smith as the next principal of Monticello Trails Middle School, effective July 1.

Smith, who is currently an associate principal at Mill Valley High School, will succeed Ms. Melissa Hansen at Monticello Trails who recently announced her resignation to accept a position with the Blue Valley School District next school year.

The appointment of Smith follows an extensive search process conducted by the school district, which included more than 30 applicants. The process also involved finalist interviews with staff and parents.

“We are delighted to have Jennifer accept the leadership position at Monticello Trails,” said Frank Harwood, Superintendent of Schools. “Her professional experience with the district and background in curriculum and instruction, along with her commitment to build on the strengths of MTMS, will produce positive outcomes for students and staff. Her love of education will help us achieve the district’s vision to maximize the potential of every student.”

Smith has served in various teaching and leadership roles with USD 232 for a total of 14 years, accepting the associate principal position at Mill Valley High School in 2016. Prior that posting, Smith worked as a school improvement administrator with the Southeast Education Service Center and curriculum coordinator with the Shawnee Mission School District. She began her teaching career at Gardner Edgerton High School as a Language Arts and Communication Arts instructor and first joined Mill Valley High School in 2004 as a Broadcast and Communication Arts teacher.

Over her career Smith has provided support at the state level as a Kansas Math Leader in collaboration with Kansas State Department of Education, as well as an Instructional Coach through the Kansas Learning Network. Currently, Smith is helping facilitate the accreditation process for USD 232 working with the district’s director of school improvement.

“I am excited to join the rich traditions and strong teachers at Monticello Trails Middle School. I look forward to building relationships with the students, teachers, and community,” Smith said. “I started my teaching career at a middle school and am pleased to return to the environment that sparked my love of teaching.  Building strong relationships to support students, not only academically but socially and emotionally, will be one of my first priorities.”

Smith is in the process of finishing her doctoral program in educational leadership through the University of Arkansas, with expected completion in December 2021. She earned her specialist and master’s degrees in educational leadership from Pittsburg State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education at Kansas State University.


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