5 Questions with Billy Smith, Fairfield Schools’ new superintendent

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Meet the new superintendent of Fairfield Schools

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Billy Smith spent most of his life in Fairfield and will soon be the leader of the city school system he was raised in.

For Smith it’s a further homecoming and a career opportunity.

The former principal of Fairfield Senior High School says he is eager to lead the 9,000-student district to greater heights.

The district is in the middle of a historic building burst, with three new schools under construction.

Smith, who also served a year as Fairfield’s assistant superintendent for business, was given a three-year contract by the district’s governing board and will earn $136,000 annually.

Smith took over the top school job Friday, replacing Superintendent Paul Otten, who left the district to take the superintendent's position at Beavercreek Schools in the Dayton area.

The Journal-News recently sat down with Smith to talk about his new job and the school district’s future.

1. Why did you want the job of Fairfield Schools superintendent?

“If you ask anyone who knows me I think people will generally tell you I’m very passionate about Fairfield and Fairfield city schools and our community as a whole. For over six years I’ve had the opportunity to serve as principal at Fairfield High School. It has been very common for me to talk about (some) things: I want our kids to want to come to school every day. I want them to feel valued. I want them to feel respected. I want our schools to be a safe place. I also want our employees to also want to come to work every day. And I want them to feel valued and respected and appreciated. I’m very excited about those.”

2. What advantages do you bring to the district having been so connected for so long with Fairfield?

“It’s a huge advantage for a number of reasons. For example, if you have been connected, you know the culture of the community and the culture of the schools. By being connected you know the people and you know the community as a whole, the general feelings of the community.

“I know faces, names and places. That connection is a driving part of my life. Fairfield is a part of me and it helped shaped the person I am today.”

3. What’s at the top of your to-do list as superintendent?

“Obviously it’s a very exciting time for our school district with our building projects going full-speed ahead. One of my goals is to become as familiar as possible with those projects. That’s important. The second thing is to continue to build the relationships I have with current employees across the district. I feel like the foundation is there and I want to continue to build those relationships. And continue to build on the relationships we have with our community.”

4. What changes will school parents see in the coming school year?

“One thing our school parents and community will see is that we are going to try to communicate as much as possible about the openings of the new buildings so everyone has an awareness of that and keep everyone updated. We will start posting a lot of pictures and updates on our website so that everyone in our community can keep up with that change. It’s a very exciting time to be opening three new schools.”

5. What is your long-term vision for Fairfield Schools?

“Continue to do what is in the best interest for our students, our families and our community members. I want our school district to be one that our community members can be proud of. I want our students to be proud to say they are students here and I want our employees to be proud to work here and I want all of our residents to be proud to say they live in Fairfield school district. As our needs change and as our community changes, we need to be able to adapt so we can continue to meet all the needs of our students, community and stakeholders.”