Chad Smith Principal

Chad Smith Principal is an educator who champions more well-rounded, supportive, and technologically innovative methods in schools. With diverse experience in everything from STEM teaching to curriculum development to extracurricular activities, Chad provides invaluable expertise to the education community.

Prior to his storied career in education, Chad Smith, a principal earned a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Utah and a Master’s in Planning from the University of Southern California. Although Chad didn’t know it yet, his studies in minimizing conflict and improving the health, wellness, and overall livelihood of a population would shape his approach to education administration as well.

Chad Smith spent the next seven years excelling across numerous industries. He first gained international experience by preparing economic development projects in Hanoi, Vietnam and Guangzhou, China. During his travels Chad noted a rising interest in telecommunications and he founded his own consulting firm, which focused on the acquisition, entitlement and construction of cellular, PCS and digital communication network sites. Chad continued on an entrepreneurial path by building a company that owned several gas stations. His final business venture prior to education was a two-year role as the vice president of a small bank.

Chad’s “aha” moment occurred to him shortly after he suffered a serious injury. Hospitalized after an ankle reconstruction surgery incurred life-threatening complications, Chad began to wonder exactly what drove him in his career and in his life overall. He decided that once he was well enough to leave the hospital, he would sell his businesses and enter a truly fulfilling field: education. He could apply his same creative energy and large-scale ideas to schools and foster more valuable environments for students.

After earning his teaching certification Principal Chad Smith joined Baldwin Park High School as an Earth Science, Astronomy and Natural Hazards teacher. He then taught Earth Science and Oceanography at Fullerton High School, where he also coached freshman football and varsity track. While Chad embraced his roles as teacher and coach, his long background in leadership and management drove him to aspire even higher. At his Alma Mater, Tustin High School, Chad taught Earth science and also took on the role of ASB Director.

From 2007 to 2012 Chad Smith served as the Assistant Principal of Tustin High School. In addition to overseeing all athletics and student activities (similar to his prior role as ASB Director), Chad oversaw curriculum and instruction, student discipline, and course development.  He created a One to One notebook computer program, played a key role in the expansion of the Model United Nations program, and also created a highly successful STEM program. Chad developed every program with the goal of fostering active student participation and interest, and under his leadership the school flourished.

From 2012 to 2015 Principal Chad Smith headed South Hills High School as Principal. Again he took on the crucial task of updating the school’s learning models to accurately reflect and teach the skill sets required by colleges and businesses in the 21st century. Backed by his Category 1 International Baccalaureate certification, Chad implemented the school’s first IB program. He also created an Entrepreneur program and implemented a pathway to STEM-based learning. The latter was of particular interest to Chad, who earned his Ed.D with a dissertation on students’ current interests and attitudes towards STEM.

Now Chad is the Coordinator of Pupil Services at Capistrano Unified, where he oversees Special Assignment Pupil Services and Welfare and serves as a liaison between the District, Orange County Office of Education, and school districts.