VALDOSTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Bibb County's new interim school superintendent tells us he feels he was called to come back to the community that gave him his start.
41NBC spoke with Dr. Steve Smith at his home Tuesday. Monday night, board members approved Smith for the job.
Smith served as principal at Central High School in Macon from 1995 to 2000 before serving as superintendent of both Pulaski and Lowndes County Schools. He also spent some time in the past as a teacher and coach at First Presbyterian Day School in Macon.
Both Smith and his sons grew up in Bibb County Schools, and his wife taught in them for 20 years.
Overall, 18 of Smith's 37 years in education were spent in Bibb County.
"I think giving up six months to a year of my life to help a cause like this, it's a small portion to pay for so much that's been given to me by the community," Smith says.
Smith says he understands he can't come in and fix all of the district's problems by himself, but he feels that if everyone works together, most of them, including an $18 million budget deficit, can be overcome.
He says he thrives on challenges, and he hopes to change the community's focus.
"Too much attention is focused on the superintendent and the board," Smith says. "The attention needs to be focused on the students in the classroom and the teachers that work with those students day in and day out. That's where the real work of the school system is done, and those are the people we need to be most respectful and appreciative of."
Smith will officially start his job on May 28, but he says he will be in town five or six days before that so that when the end of May comes, he'll be ready to hit the ground running.
The district is undergoing an accreditation visit this week and will get an update on that Wednesday afternoon at 3. Smith says he plans to be at that meeting.