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KNOXVILLE — Robert E. Smith, principal of Soddy Daisy High School in Soddy Daisy, Tenn., received a statewide leadership excellence award from the University of Tennessee Thursday, Sept. 28.

The Field Award for Excellence in Secondary School Leadership is presented annually to a high school principal who has demonstrated service and leadership in his or her school and community. It is one of the most prestigious honors from UT’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Tom George, associate dean of the college presented Smith the award. “Mr. Smith has truly been a difference-maker at Soddy Daisy,” he said. He added that Smith is an ideal representative of the Field Award.

Smith has been principal at Soddy Daisy since 1990. In that time, he has implemented numerous programming opportunities for students. The programs include:

• A nationally recognized student academic incentive program with more than 40 business supporters and community sponsors
• A work-based learning program for students with severe learning disabilities who participate in a non-credit curriculum at the school
• A Freshman Academy that increased ninth to tenth-grade promotion rates by 20 percent in two years
• Small learning communities for students based on real-world content application, personalization and relevance of curriculum including a freshman academy, engineering and technology academy, business and mass communications academy and a planned environmental and health sciences academy

In addition, Smith built community partnerships with local businesses to implement job shadowing and mentorship opportunities for students. He also formed a collaborative team with all K-12 principals within his community to address issues of disengagement fom studies and to improve graduation rate.

The Field Award was established in 2000 through an endowment from Arnold and Joy Glass of Houston, Texas. It is given each year to a principal whose life and work exemplify leadership excellence. It honors the late Tennessee educators Mr. and Mrs. William J. Field, parents of Joy Glass. Diane Glass Hutton, daughter of the donors, and her husband attended the ceremony.

In addition to a presentation ceremony, the award winner is invited to Knoxville to address a class of future school administrators.

“You have to be a motivator,” Smith told the class of graduate students. “Build pride in your program, build pride in your building and make sure that your students see a sense of purpose in everything that is done.”

The award is open to all high schools in the state. Nominations for next year’s Field Award will be accepted through January 2007. For more information, contact award coordinator Dr. Vincent Anfara Jr. at (865) 974-6228 or

Vincent Anfara,
Beth Gladden,(865) 974-9008,