“I was so young,” Smith says. “I figured if I wanted to get back into education, I could at a later time. I started looking around, from Google to manufacturing. But at the same time, Killington Mountain School was going through a head of school change. I knew the president of the board of trustees from ski racing
who said ‘Why don’t you apply?’ I took a look at the school and knew I could leave it better than I found it.
“I didn’t know much [at 29] about running a school,” Smith admits, “but I spent the next 19 years at KMS following three simple guidelines: Leave a place better than you found it; treat other people the way you’d want to be treated; and, if you have the right attitude—the right outlook—there’s very little you can’t accomplish when you put your mind to it. Running a school is complex but being successful at working with people is that simple.”
Coming back to Gould with his wife, Dawn Barclay, a hospital physician, and their children is a homecoming made particularly challenging by the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, Smith says, his family takes things one day at a time and is thankful, given their busy schedules, whenever they can be together.
His typical day as head of school is, at this moment, full of meetings. By the end of the fall trimester, more than 900 Covid tests
had been administered, and there had been no positive cases.
“There are two overarching priorities: the health and wellness of students, faculty, employees, their families, and the Bethel community; and the continuity of Gould education,” Smith says.
“Being in person this year requires being able to tolerate a certain degree of uncertainty. We know there will be students here all through winter break and all next summer. Gould may never have a completely empty campus again for some time.”