Hampton City Schools Superintendent Announces Retirement
After serving in public education for 32 years, Dr. Jeffery O. Smith, Superintendent of Hampton City Schools, will retire effective July 1, 2023.
Smith began his tenure as superintendent of Hampton City Schools on July 15, 2015. Under his leadership, academic success is the highest it has been in decades. For the first time in Hampton City Schools history, all of the division’s 32 schools and centers became fully accredited and have been since 2019. Additionally, the school division has strengthened its dual enrollment program with the Virginia Peninsula Community College (previously Thomas Nelson Community College) with students earning 25,443 dual enrollment credits since 2015. The on-time graduation rate has increased from 88% for the class of 2015 to 97.64% for the class of 2022. The dropout rate has decreased from 5.1% for the class of 2015 to 0.62% for the class of 2022. In addition, the Hampton City community has earned the distinction of being the first and only Ford Next Generation Learning Community in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Smith firmly believes in the school division’s mission of ensuring academic excellence for every child, every day, whatever it takes. As such, Hampton has transformed their four high schools from five pocket academies to 16 wall-to-wall academies and from 18 to 44 offered career pathways through the Academies of Hampton. The Academies provide young people opportunities based on high-demand, high-wage jobs aligned with regional and state workforce data, and ultimately prepare young people to be college, career and life ready. This important work was featured in the 2018 State of the Region report for Hampton Roads as The Next Generation of Learning in Hampton Roads, as well as The Center for American Progress as one of the four models working across the country, and the class of 2021 graduated as the inaugural Academies of Hampton graduating class.
He shares, “As a superintendent, you do not travel the road alone. The relationships and wise counsel that I have gained over these years have helped to strengthen my leadership, which in turn has allowed me to build from places of strength. We have experienced remarkable growth and success over the past eight years in Hampton City Schools. This is largely due to the invaluable governance leadership of the School Board, as well as the dedication and commitment of our division leadership team, administrative team, teachers, and support staff. Every staff member has been essential to accomplishing our core business of teaching and learning. I am proud of the work, our staff, and our students. Serving as the superintendent of this great school division has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.
Hampton is a special place. I will always cherish our families and the members of our community who have worked alongside me and truly invested in our young people. The strong partnership with our city manager, city administration, city council, and our military, faith-based, business, and community partners is like no other. I also remain grateful for the unwavering support from my wife and family as it has been essential throughout this journey. As I enter into retirement, I have confidence in the School Board’s leadership and commitment to navigate the school division’s selection of the next superintendent”
Smith is the recipient of the 2019 Peninsula Humanitarian Award from the Peninsula Chapter of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (February 2019). He was named the Region II Superintendent of the Year and the 2020 Virginia Superintendent of the Year. Smith was named as one of four national finalists for the 2020 AASA National Superintendent of the Year Award. Additionally, he is the recipient of the 2020 Mary Peake Award for Excellence in Education Equity (School Leadership) and was recognized as the 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Leader by the Urban League of Hampton Roads. He is also the recipient of the 2022 Virginia PTA Power Partners Award.
School Board Chair Dr. Richard Mason states, “In 2015 when the Board hired Dr. Jeffery Smith, there was a high level of confidence that he possessed the skills and leadership to move our school division to 100% accreditation while closing achievement gaps and transforming teaching and learning in Hampton. In the past eight years, Dr. Smith, along with the division's leadership team, administrators, teachers and support staff have accomplished this and exceeded all expectations. While the Board would be delighted for him to remain in this leadership position, we understand and respect his decision to move into the next chapter of his life. We are grateful for his commitment and dedication to the Hampton Community. Dr. Smith's thoughtful and focused leadership has created sustainable systems that will enable our HCS team to continue to make Hampton the first choice for success for every student, well into our future.”
The Hampton School Board will provide information regarding a superintendent search in the upcoming weeks.