Jason Smith says he is enjoying being in Texarkana and his new job as Superintendent at Pleasant Grove ISD.

Smith was recently selected by the school district board of directors and started in his position just a couple of weeks ago. Smith was born in Dallas and raised partly in nearby Frisco and later just north of that in the small Texas town of Gunter.

After graduating high school, Smith attended East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, which later became Texas A&M-Commerce. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from there.

Upon graduation he began his teaching career as a classroom teacher in the Melissa school district, which is also in North Central Texas. Then it was on to MayPearl Texas, where he became a middle school principal, before becoming a high school principal in McKinney. His educational career journey took him back to Melissa in 2003, where he became the Superintendent in that district until 2014.

Smith decided to apply for the Pleasant Grove position. Part of the decision making process had to do with family. Smith and his wife were looking for a great school district where their 3 year old son Reed would  eventually attend classes. They wanted the district to be big enough that their son could do and take part in all activities that he will be interested in, but at the same time small enough where the community and they could keep close tabs on him. Smith says both he and his wife came from small towns and small school districts.

Smith adds a  huge deciding issue was coming to a district that really promoted excellence in everything they do and a culture of promoting excellence. He describes PG as that type district. He says this is important to him both as an educator and a parent.

Smith is eager to get to know as many people as he possibly can. He told us that it's an open door policy for him. He says residents should feel free to come and talk to him about anything. He will  be spending time over the next few months accessing programs staff, school finances, technological infrastructure, and access to that technology.

As for athletics, he wants to make sure that there are the finances available to make sure the programs provide the proper safety and security to the student athletes, with appropriate equipment and supervision. He says the decision to bring in a full time trainer, a move made before his arrival, was a good move for health and safety.

Smith is aware that a couple of previous attempts to pass a bond issue to build a new elementary school had failed. He realizes the the building was built back in the 1950's, in a different era that was not designed for 21st century learning. He says the question to be addressed is whether it is cost prohibitive to redesign or is it best to evaluate another location. Smith looks forward to talking to residents about their feelings on the matter, as well as sitting down with school board members to see what direction they believe the district should head on this matter and what they feel the reasons are for needing a new building.

As for the future, Smith is hoping he and his families stay in the Texarkana will be a long one. I asked him down the road, what would he want to look back on and say about his tenure as Superintendent of Pleasant Grove ISD. For Smith it's all about the students. He says he wants to make sure that each student is taught to the mastery level. That everything that is done in the district is done to that mastery level, and that the kids achieve to that mastery level. It's seems all about excellence with the new leader of PG.

I found Dr. Smith to be an extremely personable person. He truly does seem excited to be here and thrilled to be in this particular district. His demeanor and open door policy is something I believe Pleasant Grove residents will respond to and enjoy. I think the sky is the limit as far as what can be accomplished during his tenure. I have no doubt that he will achieve his goal, of the district mastering everything they strive for, and that the students and staff will be the benefactors of that effort. We welcome Dr. Smith to our community and our area.

Go by and meet him. The welcome mat is definitely out.