The third candidate for the principal job at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary said Friday that although she doesn’t have as many years of experience as the other candidates, her experiences have prepared her.
Ashley Smith, assistant principal at Riley County Grade School, has eight years of experience in public education, including serving as an elementary school teacher and an administrator. She received her degree through K-State and has some experience in USD 383, including research at Bluemont Elementary. The other two candidates — Manhattan High School’s Trina Dibbini and Rachel Buessing from Seitz Elementary School on Fort Riley — have at least 10 years of experience in education.
Smith said since she’s worked as a director of the Flint Hills Summer Fun Camp for three years, the responsibility taught her about leadership, management and budgeting, as well as best practices for dealing with discipline and how to work with students with special needs.
She said it would be convenient for her to get the job since she lives on Houston Street, the same as the school, but she didn’t apply just because she’d be close by.
“This school has a great reputation,” she said. “If I got it, I’m not going to change things, we’re just going to make them better and grow.”
Smith said she thinks the students at RCGS would describe her as funny, and that her staff would describe her as “friendly, easy to talk to and supportive.”
“The other day, someone came to my office and we ended up talking about fishing for 30 minutes,” she said. “I don’t know anything about fishing, but I want to know who you saw at the lake and what you caught.”
If she had to pick, Smith said she would describe herself as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
“Because they’re amazing and they’re different,” she said. “They’re a mixture of two things, chocolate and peanut butter and so am I. I can be quiet, but I can also stick up for you. I can be kind of reserved, and I can be friendly and outgoing. And that peanut butter is tucked in there, just like the fun is inside me.”