The Duncan Banner

Local News

May 15, 2013

Vision to be ‘the best’

Smith approved as DHS principal

DUNCAN — For the Duncan High School, the 2013-14 school year will be a sizable transition year. And one of the most noticeable changes will be the change in high school principal.

Justin Smith, DHS assistant principal, will be taking over the principal’s position, following the retirement of Gary Reed. Reed is set to retire July 10, with 37 years of service to Duncan Public Schools. The Duncan Board of Education approved Smith as the new high school principal during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Smith has been assistant principal for 1 1/2 years, having been promoted from academic coach in January 2012. At that point, Smith took over the position vacated when Janice Gay became principal of Horace Mann Elementary.

“It was a good transition,” he said. “Being academic coach, I learned a lot about Common Core coming. Being in the teachers’ classrooms, I got to know all of them.”

As an academic coach, Smith found himself groomed to be a high school principal, despite the majority of his teaching years spent in elementary education.

In his position as assistant principal, Smith has handled discipline, teacher evaluations and this year, added site maintenance. As principal, Smith will also be in charge of managing the assistant principals, while making more financially driven decisions.

“Mr. Reed has been great,” Smith said. “He’s been letting me get my feet wet by attending principal meetings.”

Reed has been high school principal for nearly seven years, taking the position in the summer of 2006, following the departure of Shelly Lovelace. Prior to that, he was assistant principal for nine years.

Smith has 16 years of experience in education, seven of which took place in Texas. Two years were spent at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, during the transition of principals Bud Conway and Carol Phipps, as they switched elementary schools.

“Duncan has been great about professional development,” Smith said. “When I became a principal, I hadn’t thought about being a high school principal.

“I’ve learned a lot. I still have a lot to learn.”

He said life is a never-ending learning experience. And his transition to principal will just be another opportunity for growth.

His first year comes as Duncan High School’s campus undergoes construction and renovation, thanks to a bond issue passed by voters. This work, while making the year a bit chaotic and interesting to work around, will also work toward Smith’s goal of having the high school noticed for its achievements.

One of his goals is to have the high school recognized as a top school in the United States.

“I think we will still have a successful year,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to stress flexibility.”

But being a top high school in the country isn’t the only thing Smith would like to see for Duncan High School.

“I have a visual of Duncan High School being one of the best high schools in the country,” Smith said. “I want the transition to Common Core to be successful. I want to add more AP classes and increase rigor.

“The administration for Duncan Public Schools from the top down has been great. The people around you are what make you good.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Bench found competent, trial to start Monday

    A jury took 50 minutes on Thursday to find Miles Sterling Bench competent to stand trial for first-degree murder  and District Judge Joe Enos scheduled the trial to begin Monday.
    Bench, 23, of, Velma, is accused of the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry of Velma. She was killed in June 2012 in the Teepee Totem convenience store in Velma where Bench was employed.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 Miller and Decathlon 0016.jpg Miller pumps up decathlon students

    Dr. Ché Miller, who helped bridge a funding gap needed to send the Duncan High School Decathlon Team to the national competition in Hawaii, gave the team a pep talk on Thursday.
    Miller, recently recognized as the Man of the Year by the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the students they are about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and advised them to absorb as much of the experience as they can.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Churches prepare for Easter Sunday

    Churches throughout Duncan and Stephens County are preparing to celebrate Easter this Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven.
    Today is known as Good Friday to mark the day Christ was crucified on a cross.

    April 18, 2014

  • 4-18 lauren-ellis mug.jpg Ellis named new CEO of regional United Way

    Lauren Ellis, who’s led the United Way of Stephens County for more than two years, has been named the new chief executive officer of the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma.
    Her new job will be based in Lawton but Ellis said she will remain in Duncan and commute.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jurors to decide Bench competency issue today

    Jurors will hear final arguments on Thursday and then be asked to determine whether  23-year-old Miles Sterling Bench is mentally competent to stand trial for first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of 16-year-old Braylee Henry nearly two years ago.

    April 17, 2014

  • 4-17 Decathlon Team1 0127.jpg DHS Decathlon Teams prepares

    Not every high school student gets an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii. But that’s exactly what’s happening with the 10 team members of the Duncan High School Decathlon Team.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baseball tourney to be held in Wiles' memory

    The Duncan Middle School baseball team will hold a tournament in memory of the late Alyssa Wiles.

    April 17, 2014

  • Corporon memorial planned for Friday in Marlow

    A candlelight vigil for Dr. William Corporon and his grandson Reat Underwood will be held at Marlow High School at 8 p.m. Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gay recuses himself from Morales trial

    Associate District Judge Dennis Gay on Wednesday disqualified himself from the trial of Dr. Oscar Morales Jr.

    April 17, 2014

  • Psychologists disagree on Bench’s mental competency

    Two psychologists on Tuesday offered differing opinions  about the mental competency of Miles Sterling Bench to stand trial for first-degree murder in the 2012 death of Braylee Henry.
    Bench, dressed in a dark blue suit, sat through a second day of court proceedings that will determine if the case against him goes to trial. The state is seeking the death penalty.

    April 16, 2014