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Smith replacing Bossier at WSJE

REBECCA BURK ELLIS / L’Observateur / August 14, 1998

EDGARD – Shelton Smith has been in the St. John the Baptist Parish SchoolSystem for 25 years as a teacher, librarian and assistant principal. On his26th year he will try something different.

Smith was recently named principal at West St. John Elementary, takingMyrtle Bossier’s place, who retired.

Smith earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He earned his Plus 30 from Southeastern LouisianaUniversity.

His first job after graduating was as a social studies teacher at Leon Godchaux High School, where he stayed one year. After that he was movedto Second Ward Elementary in Edgard as a fourth grade teacher. He alsostayed there for one year before he was moved to Second Ward High School. He was a librarian there for about six years and then became thelibrarian at West St. John Junior High. West St. John Junior High is the current West St. John Elementary. Smithsaid he stayed there as librarian, and was also librarian at Sixth Ward Elementary in Garyville at the same time. “It was split and I went backand forth,” he said.

Then in 1989 he was named assistant principal at West St. JohnElementary and has stayed in that position for the past nine years.

Smith has been at West St. John Elementary for many years and alwaysgets excited when school starts. “I’m always excited about the opening ofschool,” he said. “I get excited every year. But it’s more excitement thisyear because it’s different. I’ll be the principal.”When school is back in session, Smith has several goals he plans to accomplish. “My main focus is to improve test scores,” he said. “This willbe the first year we will be giving the LEAP test to fourth-graders and it’s going to entail more critical thinking skills. We’re going to have to puta lot of emphasis on that.”He also wants to increase parental involvement. “I’m a strong believer inthe African proverb that says, ‘It takes the whole village to raise a child.’So an effective school needs to have supportive parents,” Smith said. “Iplan to work diligently with the PTO to improve in that area.”With Internet connections being hooked up this summer in the elementary school, Smith said he wants every student to have access to a connected computer during the year. “I want the use of technology increased,” hesaid.

He added that teachers will be trained on how to integrate the new technology into their curriculum.