I learned what it means to serve in public schools as a child from my father, Larry Smedley Sr. My dad is a former VPS teacher, coach and longtime principal, and he was the one who inspired me to choose education as my career path. My siblings, as well as my children and I, are all graduates from Vancouver Public Schools. Both my daughter and I have chosen and are proud to serve as educators in this district.
Over the past 38 years of my career, I have worked shoulder to shoulder with you during my tenure. Whether I was riding on a school bus to support a driver taking children home, stacking chairs in the cafeteria with our building maintenance staff, observing our amazing teachers in classrooms as they instructed our students or assisting support staff and counselors when children were having a rough day, the men and women who serve the children and families in VPS have always inspired me.
When the school board asked me to consider this new role as interim superintendent for the next five months until we hire a new superintendent, I did what I normally do: I said yes.
This pandemic has stretched all of us, especially our students. We have had to dig deep into our physical and emotional resources and collaborate more to create new systems so that we can safely return everyone to school. Is this easy work? No, but we understand that our students, families, and community are counting on us.
I believe in our collective talent, and I believe in each of you. So, let’s continue doing what we all do best here in Vancouver Public Schools—creating a safe, nurturing, and caring learning environment for our students.
Let’s do this together, and then let’s welcome a new superintendent to Vancouver in July 2021!