On July 1, 2013, Dale M. Smith began his tenure as Newman’s 12th Head of School.
Dale was born and raised in New Orleans and attended Jesuit High School, graduating in 1981. After completing his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Columbia College in 1985 and a brief stint in the business world, Dale began his teaching career as a middle school math teacher at the Collegiate School in New York City. Like many natives of New Orleans, Dale returned to his hometown in 1990 beginning his career at Newman as an Upper School teacher of Mathematics and Computer Science.
As he made the transition at Newman from the classroom into educational leadership, his administrative responsibilities included: Department Chair, Dean of Students, Upper School Head, and Associate Head of School. Dale also brings to Newman previous experience as the Head of School at Pine Crest School, a large PK-12 independent school in South Florida with 2,600 students and over 250 teachers on two different campuses.
As an educational leader, Dale believes strongly in the importance of relationships as the foundation for teaching and learning, one of many reasons he returned to graduate school to earn his M.S. in Counseling from Loyola University in 2007. As an educator, Dale believes strongly that great teaching requires an “authentic connection between teacher and student,” a principle that was the foundation of his practice as a classroom teacher. He also believes that “essential to good schools is the recruitment and retention of talented teachers who set high expectations and are voracious readers, curious and continuously learning about their disciplines.” One of the many reasons Dale believes so strongly in Newman is that he values a school culture where “students value intellectual endeavor and trust and feel meaningfully connected to their teachers, advisors, and coaches.”
Dale and his wife, Dara, have a daughter, Aimee, who graduated from Newman in 2008. They also have three grandchildren attending Newman in Middle School, Lower School, and Green Trees. Especially meaningful to Dale is the opportunity to see the students he taught and coached many years ago return to their alma mater as Newman parents. Dale is grateful for the opportunity to lead Newman. He believes that his deep understanding of the culture and history of Newman and New Orleans and his experience at two other top independent schools provide a solid foundation for his leadership of the School.