Dr. Daniel Smith, Autonomy with Integrity

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices.



This episode features Dr. Daniel Smith, Principal of Floyd E. Kellam High School in Virginia Beach. Growth mindset pervades Dr. Smith’s work as he seeks to learn from both other school systems and his own students. With respect to his students, the school engages them in constant conversation for the strategic purpose of creating a shared vision and to better provide learning experiences that are relevant to them. In terms of college and career readiness, Dr. Smith believes that developing the right mindsets in his students is more important than just the act of providing resources. He is also seeking to empower his teachers through an approach described as autonomy with integrity.



About Dr. Daniel Smith


Dr. Daniel W. Smith was appointed Principal of Floyd E. Kellam High School (KHS) on March 15, 2016 and is entering his eleventh year as a building principal. He is the eighth principal at Kellam High School in the past fifty-five years. Born and raised in Hampton Roads, Dr. Smith attended Chesapeake City Public Schools and Western Branch High School. His undergraduate studies were at James Madison University, and he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Education Administration and Supervision from Shenandoah University, and his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from University of Virginia.


Dr. Smith’s passion lies in the power of student and teacher relationships as a catalyst to infuse rigorous and relevant learning experiences for all students. He is dedicated to ensuring that high-quality teaching and learning is taking place in each and every classroom.


Prior to his assignment at Kellam, Dr. Smith served as principal of Corporate Landing Middle School and Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach. Currently, Dr. Smith serves as an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership and as past president of Virginia ASCD, a non-profit education organization committed to advancing teaching, learning, and leadership in the Commonwealth. In 2011, he was one of the thirty-six international educators recognized as an Emerging Leader by ASCD, the premier education organization for professionals.


Dr. Smith resides in Virginia Beach with his wife and two children. He enjoys many outdoor activities including kayaking, fishing, and running, and spending time with his family and watching the Redskins, the Dukes, and the Cavaliers. This year, he is looking forward to being able to cheer on the Kellam Knights.



About Floyd E. Kellam High School


Kellam High School provides a positive, safe school environment where students, teachers, parents, and community accept responsibility for learning skills to meet present as well as future challenges.


Opened in 1962, Kellam serves the largest geographical area of any school in the City of Virginia Beach. The boundaries run from the highly populated General Booth corridor south to the North Carolina line and from Landstown east to Back Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This uniqueness is also seen in the diverse student population of Kellam High School.



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