Winter Park High principal wins arts award

Wins arts award

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  • | 6:24 a.m. November 19, 2015
Photo by: Tim Freed - Tim Smith has helped build a school with top-quality arts and music programs, earning Secondary Administrator of the Year for it.
Photo by: Tim Freed - Tim Smith has helped build a school with top-quality arts and music programs, earning Secondary Administrator of the Year for it.
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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The head Winter Park Wildcat’s latest award is music to his ears.

The Florida Music Educator Association recently honored Winter Park High School Principal Tim Smith as the Secondary Administrator of the Year.

The award recognizes Smith for growing the performing arts departments in his school by setting aside funding and hiring new staff.

“I’m incredibly honored,” Smith said. “It’s very special and meaningful to me.”

“We have great directors, great kids and great parents – they’re the ones who make the magic happen. I happen to be the lucky guy who’s the principal.”

Smith has slowly grown Winter Park High School’s departments since he first arrived as principal in July 2010. Last year, the school hired a much-needed assistant orchestra director. Until then a single orchestra director was in charge of teaching 190 students, the same number taught by multiple instructors in the school’s band program. Smith also collaborated with the Winter Park High School Foundation to launch Raise the Curtain, a capital campaign for auditorium improvements.

Smith has even taken his support of the arts to the stage, making a cameo appearance in the school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”.

“Really my goal is to simply support and cheer them on,” Smith said. “Sometimes there are resources that we can’t always provide, but we try to chip away where we can.”

Halfway through his tenure, the Winter Park High principal brought on drama director Chris Carter, who Smith said has had a profound effect on the energy level of students. One Japanese-style production led by Carter featured around 100 students total, who handled the writing, technology, costumes and acting, Smith said.

“Chris just took the program to the next level – just incredible energy,” Smith said. “He’s had all kinds of awesome productions… The program has just swelled.”

Before coming to Winter Park High School, Smith was the principal at Freedom Middle School in Orlando for five and a half years, and principal at Howard Middle School in downtown Orlando. He’s worn multiple hats on the administration side, but his education career all started as a social studies teacher at Leesburg High School in Lake County.

Smith said that performing arts not only allow freedom of expression, but they also help shape a student’s life, from their circle of friends to their favorite mentors.

“I think it’s very symbolic in that it gives them that high school identity,” Smith said. “If I can have every kid graduate and say they’ve got that connection, that’s a great thing…. It’s just makes their high school experience so meaningful.”

Smith will receive his award at the FMEA Professional Development Clinic/Conference in Tampa on Jan. 16, 2016.


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