Brionne Smith: Sophomore principal, mom and multipotentialite

With her daughter wrapped around her on graduation day, Smith celebrates receiving her master’s degree from Arkansas State University. She received her degree in Educational Leadership in May of 2018.  “It was a very proud moment. I felt accomplished and ready to move on to the next step in my career,” Smith said.

Courtesy of Brionne Smith

With her daughter wrapped around her on graduation day, Smith celebrates receiving her master’s degree from Arkansas State University. She received her degree in Educational Leadership in May of 2018. “It was a very proud moment. I felt accomplished and ready to move on to the next step in my career,” Smith said.

In August, sophomore class Principal Brionne Smith joined the Longhorn community. As we reach the middle of the second quarter, Smith has grown accustomed to her new position and the virtual learning style. 

Years before her educational experience, Smith grew up in New Orleans. 

“The typical ‘come inside before the streetlights come on’ phrase just about sums up my childhood,” Smith said. “I had a childhood of just playing. I never wore shoes, ever. I had all my neighborhood friends who I was so close with and we’d go do crazy things til it got dark. And when those streetlights came on, I’d go inside for dinner and watch Moesha and all the other 90’s shows.”

Smith has family in places from New Orleans and St. Louis, to Arizona and Dubai. 

“I’m a mother’s girl. When my parents come to visit, it’s like my best friends are coming in town,” Smith said. “I have a ten-year-old daughter, Kimaya, who also started in Parkway this year. We have a German Shepherd and Pitbull mix. Her name is Coco, she’s my furbaby.”

Outside of work, Smith enjoys being outside, reading and working in areas of personal interest. 

“I love hiking, listening to audibles, interior decorating, studying financial literacy, real estate and stocks. When it comes to sports, basketball is my favorite. Second is football, being from New Orleans, I’m a huge Saints fan,” Smith said. “I’m also very passionate about dance. I’ve danced my whole life. I even coached my old high school dance team for five or so years.”

Smiling alongside her mom and daughter, Kimaya, sophomore Principal Brionne Smith wears traditional Middle Eastern clothing in Dubai. After trying on the area’s native clothing, Smith ended up purchasing it. “We wanted to embrace the surrounding culture and try on their traditional clothing,” Smith said. (Courtesy of Brionne Smith)

Prior to becoming a high school principal, Smith taught in San Luis, Ariz. Smith later moved to St. Louis and began working at South City Academy, where she has been for the past seven years, including last year when Smith was an administrative intern. Craving change, Smith applied to various positions in Parkway.

“After consulting with [deputy] superintendent Dr. [Chelsea] Watson, I decided which new roles to take on: the 2023 class principal, building maintenance manager and overseer of the ELA, CPE and Librarians departments,” Smith said. 

Combining the Board of Education’s advice and Smith’s personal paradigms, they collectively determined where she would best fit. 

“My mission as an educator is to always find purpose in what I do,” Smith said. “I always want to impact and promote positive change.”

Within her first couple of months in her new position, Smith has noticed high levels of communication and parent involvement.

“I love how students advocate for themselves and let me know what they need. They encourage each other, take care of each other, and put one foot forward,” Smith said. “I also love how students have a ton of spirit wear.” 

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, Smith has made an extra effort to get to know her students. Smith holds monthly class meetings to discuss class data and goal setting. She also sends out a sophomore question forum to let students know she is there to answer any questions. 

Smith, alias “Super Mom,” poses with Kimaya in the midst of a mommy-daughter day. Smith usually lets her daughter plan the day. “Some things that we have done are bike riding in Creve Coeur Park, eating snow cones, getting our nails done, going bowling, recording TikTok videos, making up dances, shopping and buying a ton of snacks while watching movies in our pajamas all day,” Smith said. (Courtesy of Brionne Smith)

“I’m a huge advocate for acknowledging student success because I can be a little bit stern and I have high expectations so when those are met I want to reward them,” Smith said. 

Smith has put together a student of the month award to motivate students. 

“The student of the month gets a certificate from their peers, a balloon and a Chick-fil-a gift card,” Smith said.  “I know students love to eat, so who wouldn’t want some free food?”

Smith has begun brainstorming plans for when school resumes in-person to create a sense of normalcy. She plans to continue holding monthly class meetings with the entire class in one setting.

“I want to give awards to the students that are always doing the right thing, as well as those who are making growth and progress,” Smith said. “I would love to have field trips based on progress, along with games or competitions between students and other grades. And maybe after the students do it, the teachers do it too.” 

As a new member of the Longhorn community, Smith wants to hold her door open and be a resource for students. 

“I always want my students to succeed. I know these times are hard and I just want them to hang in there and feel free to reach out to me. I’m an open book [and] their opinions matter,” Smith said. “I may not always be able to make things happen, but I’m always here to advocate for them and be their voice.”