October 10, 2018, Texarkana, TX- Texarkana College Board of Trustees voted today to name Dr. Jason Smith as the lone finalist for college president. After a state-mandated 21-day waiting period, Trustees will formally vote to hire Smith as the ninth president of Texarkana College on November 5, 2018, with an anticipated start date of January 1, 2019. Smith currently serves as superintendent of Pleasant Grove Independent School District in Texarkana, Texas.
“Dr. Smith is a great fit for this vital role at Texarkana College,” said Kyle Davis, president of TC’s Board of Trustees. “Not only is he a lifelong educator with proven leadership in establishing a collaborative culture of excellence and student success, but he also understands the importance of developing community engagement that underpins an institution’s values, vision and goals. During his time in our community, he has quickly been recognized as an outstanding regional leader who is endorsed by several major donors and supporters of TC.”
Smith brings 12 years of executive educational leadership experience with him to his new role at TC. Apart from his current position as PGISD superintendent where he has served since July 2016, Smith worked as the superintendent for Melissa ISD for eleven years and as a school principal in McKinney, Texas, and Maypearl, Texas. He began his career in education in 1993 working as a teacher and coach at Melissa Middle School.
As a superintendent, Smith successfully led both districts through bond elections resulting in increased revenue to address facility upgrades and positioning the districts for future growth. As a result of his leadership, faculty members in both districts have seen a new pay scale, making the districts more competitive in the areas of recruitment and retention.
“Building community trust and support is one of Smith’s strong suits,” said Davis. “He is mindful and responsive to the needs of local business and industry. Throughout his career, Dr. Smith has implemented and aligned curriculum and program offerings to support economic development trends and support students in their pursuit of earning higher education credentials.”
Davis said Smith led an expansion of the dual credit program last year at Pleasant Grove High School that resulted in 33 percent of the graduating class earning 24 semester credit hours or more of dual credit from Texarkana College.
“Dr. Smith is one of the strongest community advocates we have because he’s seen the difference it makes in a student’s life to get college experience under their belt,” said Davis. “He’s been on board from day one with TC to help bring about a greater awareness of the importance of building a college-going culture in our community. He sees the big picture and knows higher education is the key to building a resilient economy for our region.”
As superintendent, Smith also developed and led the initiative for PG to become a District of Innovation, a distinction approved by the Texas Education Agency and allowed by legislative action, to give school districts greater local control and flexibility to design policy and programs that benefit the students, district and community at-large.
“I am honored and excited to be named lone finalist for president/CEO of Texarkana College, and I consider it a privilege to become a member of the TC family,” Smith said. “To know I will be working alongside the many talented and dedicated faculty and staff at Texarkana College and making a positive difference in Texarkana and our region is a dream I never imagined. TC has a long rich history of helping our citizens start their careers or start over. The future is bright for Texarkana, and I know higher education plays a vital role.”
In addition to his extensive background in education, Smith also has relevant experience in the private sector arena through his role as co-founder and CEO of TeacherTube, LLC, an online educational company providing teachers and students with a free and safe streaming video community. Smith’s leadership and vision for this product development and guidance directly aligns with TC’s mission of advancing the community through attainable higher education and lifelong learning opportunities.
“My brother and I launched TeacherTube in 2007 as an educational resource company serving as an alternative to YouTube for teachers,” Smith said. “We saw the need for teachers to be able to safely upload not only videos but other educational resources like documents, photos and anything digital, and align it to the district’s learning standards. I stepped out of public education for a few years to work on this project, but I missed it too much—I couldn’t wait to get back to my love of education. The field of education is where I got my start and earned my degrees, and most of all, it’s where I love to serve.”
Smith earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at Texas A&M University-Commerce with a focus in education administration. He also completed the superintendent certification program in 2002 at his alma mater. Because of his extensive, dual background in public education and technology, Smith serves as a public speaker for national and international conferences and symposiums. Along with multiple speaking engagements across the USA from 2007 to present, Smith has also presented to the International Schools of China and Mongolia, the Department of Education in Australia, and the Cisco Nobel Education, Health, and Security Symposium in Sweden.
“Dr. Smith has a tremendous amount of experience in a variety of educational and business arenas that will help TC build a stronger economy and college-going culture for our region,” said Davis. “We are confident he is a great fit for the position and that Texarkana College will thrive with his leadership.”
Smith, along with his wife, Jodie, and two children, Reed (5 yrs.) and Grayson (1 yr.), live in Texarkana, Texas. He will replace James Henry Russell, who has served as Texarkana College’s president since 2011. Russell has accepted a position with BWI Companies, Inc., a wholesaler and distributer of diversified agricultural products.
Russell said he could not be happier with the Trustees’ choice for lone finalist.
“Dr. Smith has my full support as he takes TC to the next level,” said Russell. “It has been my greatest honor to serve as the president of Texarkana College, a legendary institution that holds a special place in my heart and my life.”