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New Principal Announcement

Christopher Smart, Ed.D., Selected as O’Dowd’s Next Principal

<img class="size-full wp-image-27239 alignleft lazyload" src="" alt="" width="180" height="250" />After conducting a nationwide search, President James Childs has announced Christopher Smart, Ed.D., as Bishop O’Dowd High School’s next principal. The Principal Search Committee, led by President Emeritus Kim Walsh, interviewed a number of highly qualified candidates, putting forth two finalists who spent full “discernment days” on campus. Smart was selected after that process and Bishop of Oakland Michael C. Barber confirmed the selection last week after an in-person meeting with the candidate.

Childs points out that Smart brings a wealth of administrative experience in Catholic high school settings to his new role at O’Dowd. “Chris is a great match for our current needs. He is a very careful listener, inviting folks to share their stories – to be heard and honored. He will capably partner with our Associate Principals, nurture teachers, and align around our strategic priorities as a school. I found his sensibilities around all aspects of our charism to be especially compelling.”

A seasoned veteran of Catholic education, Smart has served as Vice Principal for Academics at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, since 2012. During his nearly 20-year tenure at Jesuit he also served as Vice Principal for Student Life and Director of Athletics, was the director of the school’s summer session program, taught speech and debate, and coached mock trial.

Smart began his career in education at Jesuit High School in Sacramento, where he taught courses in social studies and social justice and was yearbook moderator before becoming athletic director. Prior to that, Smart was a scholastic in the Society of Jesus (California Province) for six years.

“I am filled with enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity to serve…as the next principal of Bishop O’Dowd High School.”

At O’Dowd, Smart will oversee all aspects of the curriculum, including the co-curricular programming that complements and enhances the academic program, and will partner closely with Childs on achieving O’Dowd’s bold institutional priorities. He will assume his new role effective July 1, 2019.

When asked to reflect on the next era in his professional journey, Smart remarked, “O’Dowd’s national reputation as a leader in its implementation of 21st century learning and instruction, its promotion of student-centric innovation in environmental science and instructional technology, and its commitment to its Catholic identity and its charism of ‘Finding God in All Things’ attracted me to seek the position of principal.

“I believe that my experience in a wide-range of servant-leadership roles has fostered an administrative skill set which promotes the learning needs and care of all students, collaborative leadership opportunities for teachers, and the institutional priorities of O’Dowd. I’m eager to partner with others in the active cultivation of O’Dowd’s unique community in diversity,” he said.

After graduating from Marin Catholic in San Rafael, Smart earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Santa Clara University. He holds a master’s degree in private school administration, with an emphasis in Catholic school leadership, from the University of San Francisco and received a doctoral degree in learning and leadership from the University of Portland. His dissertation focused on “Teacher Motivation and Learning: Reflective Participation in Professional Learning Communities.”

“As a lifelong learner and mission-driven Catholic educator, I am filled with enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity to serve the students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni as the next principal of Bishop O’Dowd High School,” Smart said.

Smart is married to Kathy, an employee at Nike, WHQ. Their son, Ryan, 26, is a CPA at Deloitte in San Jose, California.


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