Congratulations to Dr. Dana Smith, on her appointment as the permanent Middle School Director. Since July 1, Dr. Smith has served as the Interim Director of the Middle School. After nearly four months on the job, she has proven to be a brilliant, compassionate, and energetic leader ready to move our Middle School students and faculty forward.
A native of New Jersey, Dr. Smith joined the GDS community 15 years ago as the Director of Summer Programs, and other roles at GDS include student advisor, teacher, and technology coordinator. Serving on the Strategic Leadership Team as the Director of Technology for the past 13 years, Dr. Smith has represented GDS as a speaker at both local and regional conferences. A lifelong learner, she has also participated in the leadership development program at the Center for Creative Leadership and the division heads academy at ISACS in Chicago.
One of Dr. Smith’s greatest strengths is her ability to connect with students. When interviewed about what he thinks of Dr. Smith, seventh-grader, Nicholas Keith ’25 replied, “I like the way Dr. Smith builds community. At the beginning of the school year, she told us that community was her main goal, and she always looks for ways for all of the middle school students to get to know each other better. This helps the entire school. She understands middle schoolers and takes the time to get to know us and listen to our ideas.” Fifth-grader Katie Gunther ’27 stated, “Dr. Smith always thinks about the students first and what we need to do our best at school. She relates to us and looks for ways to figure out how we can work together to keep making GDS an even better place. She is caring and thoughtful, and instead of getting annoyed by our ideas and suggestions, she works with us to change things.”
After participating in a feedback process that assessed Dr. Smith’s goals progress and leadership qualities, Middle School faculty said the following:
“I love your solution-oriented approach!”
“Dana, you are an amazing leader. It has been a great start to the year.”
“You notice what I am doing and express appreciation for my efforts.”
“Thank you for outlining your goals and intentions. That process helped my frame the year for me and offered a shared purpose.”
Dr. Smith received a BS from Brown University and an MS and Ph.D. from Yale University. She and her husband, Philip, are proud alumni parents to Lucy ‘11, a graduate student at Columbia University’s Teacher College, and Reid ‘14, a health tech worker in San Francisco and new parent to Ella, a Bernedoodle. When asked what excites her most about serving as the Director of the Middle School, Dr. Smith replied, “I am excited about the opportunity to work alongside students, faculty, and families and continue to define what makes the Middle School at Greensboro Day School special.”