Tuesday, April 5, 2016

CHCCS Mourns Loss of Long-Time Educator

R.D. Smith, CHCCS Educator, Passes Away at 98

One of the names held in reverence throughout the hallways in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools is R.D. Smith.  Aside from serving the district for 38 years, he continued to make a difference in the community as a whole.

Smith was a secondary agricultural teacher at Orange County Training School (OCTS) and at Lincoln High School (LHS), an industrial arts teacher at LHS and at Chapel Hill High School (CHHS), as well as an auto mechanics teacher at CHHS.  Smith also was a driver's education teacher and served as the district's part-time transportation supervisor.

In 1970, Smith became an assistant principal at CHHS and served a crucial role in assisting the school during the process of integration.  Smith served as a CHHS assistant principal through 1980.  His career as an educator for CHCCS spanned 38 years, but his impact on the CHCCS community was even greater.

Smith was named Teacher of the Year in 1966 by LHS.  He also was a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council for 20 years and served as mayor pro tem for four years.  He was named Father of the Year in 1970 by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Merchants Association; was selected as commencement speaker by the graduating class of 1980; received the Outstanding Service Award from the Orange County Mental Health Association in 1983; received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award from the Orange County Black Caucus in 1988; and was selected for the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Jaycees in 1991.

On August 20, 2001, the district opened its fourth middle school, returning their thanks to Smith and his wife, also a long-time CHCCS educator, by naming the school R.D. & Euzelle P. Smith Middle School.

"Mr. Smith spent decades creating an educational legacy in our community that lives on in our students and staff," said Superintendent Tom Forcella.  "We are forever grateful for the Smith Family and their impact on our schools."

Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2012 with OCTS corner stone at site of Northside Elementary