Saturday, May 18, 2024

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School principal Damon Smith in May 2021. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The principal of Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Damon Smith, is one of three finalists to become deputy superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, he told families in a Friday email.

“I am proud of the work our community has done during my tenure,” Smith said in the afternoon email, “and there is more to be done. While it is hard to envision not being in the CRLS community, my goal is to become a superintendent.”

The role of deputy superintendent of teaching and learning is the second-highest-ranking official in the district for the neighboring town and “provides an opportunity for me to learn and further develop essential district leadership skills,” Smith said. “In the coming weeks I will participate in the next steps in the hiring process and I will update the school community when a decision regarding the position has been made.”

The position is open because Roderick MacNeal Jr. leaves the Arlington district June 30 to lead a private school in Chestnut Hill. According to the YourArlington news site, Smith’s fellow finalists for MacNeal’s job are Monakatellia “Mona” Ford Walker, former principal of the Winship Elementary School in Boston and now in Revere Public Schools; and Thad Dingman, longtime principal of Arlington’s Dallin Elementary School.

Smith would work under superintendent Elizabeth Homan.

Cambridge Rindge and Latin School has 1,880 students and 425 staffers, not including the High School Extension Program or special education staff, according to district information. The Arlington district has a dozen schools, including two high schools, with some 5,553 total students, according to a 2022 state accountability report. For fiscal year 2023, the district had an operating budget of $84.4 millon out of a municipal budget of just over $197 million.

Smith is in his 12th year as principal of CRLS, which follows work as dean of curriculum and program at the school. Before joining Cambridge Public Schools in 2004, he was assistant school director at Boston’s New Mission High School.

Smith is a Wesleyan University graduate, and he earned a master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His mother and his father were public school educators in New York City. His wife is also an educator in the Cambridge Public Schools, and they live in Cambridge with their two sons.