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Each year I have the privilege of visiting with dozens and dozens of local schools as I video the youngsters reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I am only able to gain entrance after I've worked with the principal of that school and set up an appointment to slightly interrupt some of those classes to do the recording.

Over the years I've developed a heaping helping of admiration for a lot of these principals and one of those is Kimmie Smith, formerly at Legacy Elementary in Bossier Parish before this summer's announcement she was named Supervisor of Pre-K through 2nd grade for the whole parish. She has always just reeked of love for her students and has dedicated her entire professional life to their education.

Well now, people all over Louisiana are seeing exactly what I've seen in Kimmie Smith as she's just been named a finalist for Louisiana's State Principal of the Year!

A proud product of Bossier Schools herself, Kimmie began her 27 year educational career as an elementary teacher, then moved into the positions of counselor and assistant principal before assuming the role as principal of Legacy. She has received many accolades throughout her career, including 1998 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Finalist, making her selection as 2021 Louisiana Principal of the Year Finalist icing on the cake.

“Being ​selected as a Finalist for Louisiana Principal of the Year among so many amazing school leaders is truly humbling,” Smith said. “I am proud to represent our Bossier Schools family and educators across our great state for the work we do each day for Louisiana’s greatest resource -- our children.”

Each year, school systems throughout Louisiana submit nominations for Teacher and Principal of the Year. A state team then narrows the field to only nine Teacher and nine Principal of the Year Finalists, who will compete at the overall state level.

“These 18 educators represent the very best in Louisiana and are all deserving of our state’s top honor for teachers,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “We’re in uncharted waters in education, but one thing that remains constant is the life-changing impact a high-quality teacher has on a child.”

During Smith’s tenure as principal, Legacy Elementary consistently earned an “A” rating and was also recognized as a “Top Gains” and “Equity” honoree by the Louisiana Department of Education. Most recently, Legacy became the district’s first Certified Energy Bus School in recognition of its positive school culture. Inspired by a sincere desire to make a difference, Smith is devoted to her community and the students she serves.

Smith will be honored at the 14th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Symposium and Celebration, which will be held virtually this year. The event is co-sponsored by Dream Teachers.