R.K. Smith educator named district’s Principal of the Year

Harold Blood’s philosophy as an educator is a simple one, but nonetheless extremely effective: putting students and their best interests first and foremost in everything that’s done at R.K. Smith Middle School, where he’s served as principal since 2009.

It’s an outlook that’s led to a great deal of success that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his peers. Blood has been named St. Charles Parish School System’s 2017 Principal of the Year. Blood will go on to represent the school district in the annual statewide competition.

“I’m very excited and humbled,” he said. “I’m excited for our students, our faculty and staff and our parents to not only be able to represent the R.K. Smith family, but also St. Charles Parish Public Schools on the state level. “That of all the principals they could have chosen, they selected me … I’m so grateful for that.”

Blood said that his primary focus is on development of the whole student while gearing everything, be it curriculum, scheduling, discipline or technology, toward fulfilling that goal.

“We want to make sure our students are critical thinkers and will be lifelong learners,” Blood said. “We want to prepare them to go on and make a positive impact on society. We want our students to reflect what we call our Triple A school district, well-rounded students in academics, arts and athletics.”

Blood received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Southern University at New Orleans and his Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Nicholls State University.

He was inspired to go into education when he was in college, volunteering with his fraternity.

“When it was time to do community service, one of the things we’d do was go into the inner city schools to get hours,” Blood said. “A lot of times, the fraternity brothers didn’t show up for it. I would, because I really enjoyed working with kids and helping them become the best they could be.”

Blood moved into St. Charles Parish and began his career as a paraeducator at the Court School that shared a campus with Eual J. Landry Middle School in Hahnville, where he also served as a football and track coach before teaching math at Ethel Schoeffner Elementary School.

Eventually, he was approached about returning to school to further his education, with an eye on going into school administration.

“I started looking at it and thought, ‘If I can get these kids a little earlier, I can really make a positive impact on their lives,”’ he said.

He became Assistant Principal at R.K. Smith in 2006 before being elevated to Principal in 2009.

He said that when St. Charles Parish Public Schools Superintendent Felecia Gomez-Walker announced he was this year’s award recipient, he was floored.

“It was an awesome feeling. I was totally shocked,” he said. But the greatest rewards of his occupation aren’t the personal accolades he’s received for it —  they come each and every day he arrives on his school’s campus.

“Oh man, I just think about every morning, when they get off the bus and I’m at the door to shake their hand and look them in the eyes … knowing I’m going to be part of the success they’ll have in their lives,” Blood said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Seeing former students brings another wonderful feeling, he said.

“So many times, when they come back and I see them and hear what they’re doing in their lives, there’s nothing like that,” he said. “When they remember things you did or said, quotes from morning announcements and they tell you they’re glad they listened and that it helped them with their families, jobs … money can’t buy that feeling,” he said. “There’s no more rewarding feeling than that.”

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