Dr. Stephen Smith

Director / Mathematics & Research Instructor

"Many times a day I realize how much my own life is built on the labors of my fellowmen, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received." ~Albert Einstein

I am delighted to serve as the director, and one of the seven faculty members, here at CVGS! I have been in my current position since 2010.

My previous work experience includes serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Lynchburg City Schools, working as an elementary principal, a middle and high school math teacher, a supervisor for math, science, and gifted education, and a biochemistry instructor in the Summer Governor's School for Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Lynchburg College.

I have also taught several college courses in various programs, primarily at the University of Lynchburg (formerly Lynchburg College). At the masters and doctoral levels I've taught EDHD 609: Research Methods and Applications, EDLS 636: Applications in Educational Technology, EDLS 643: The Principalship, and LS 802: Quantitative Research Methods. I have also enjoyed teaching two undergraduate course at the University of Lynchburg, EDUC 425: Elementary Math Methods and HONR 344: Leadership & Teamwork. Finally, I have twice had the opportunity to teach undergraduate MATH 208: Concepts of Elementary and Middle School Mathematics at Randolph College

I currently teach the senior Connections in Mathematics course at CVGS and work with the seniors in the Leadership, Teamwork, Communications Design Challenge each fall. In my teaching I use emerging technologies, direct instruction with mnemonic devices and graphic organizers, and active learning with group and project-based work to enhance understanding and recall.

Educational Background

Personal Background

I grew up in Ohio as the sixth of seven children. I moved to Lynchburg in 1985 to attend Lynchburg College. I am married to a truly gifted teacher, Meg Smith, who was recognized as the Virginia State Teacher of the Year for 2012.  

Meg and I have two children of whom we are very proud. Harrison graduated from CVGS and Heritage High School in 2012 and from the University of Lynchburg in 2016, 2020, and 2021. His most recent degree is a doctorate of medical science, and he is currently employed as a Physician Assistant at OrthoVirginia. Harrison is married to another proud Hornet, Megan, and they have two older boys, James and Tatom, a daughter, Reagan, and their youngest son, Reese. Our daughter Cassie graduated from CVGS and Heritage High in 2015, and she graduated from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2022. She and her husband Jack live in northern Virginia.

When I'm not working I enjoy playing cards and games, game design, reading, indoor rock climbing, and almost any activity that includes spending time with family and friends.

The 7 Siblings with mom at Castle and Kerrin's wedding in 2005

Rock Climbing in Kentucky in 2022

Dressed as characters from Miraculous for Halloween 2022

Cassie and Jack's engagement party June 2023

More than a Few Favorite Quotes

“Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.”
~Babatunde Olatunji

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”
~ Jim Rohn

“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
~Wayne Gretzky

“Let me tell you the secret to my success. My success lies solely in my tenacity.”
~Louis Pasteur

“Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. But treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, and he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.”
~Henry Ford (1863-1947)

“Do, or do not. There is no 'try'.”
~Yoda ('The Empire Strikes Back')

“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
~Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours.”
~Richard Bach

“Well done is better than well said.”
~Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
~Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

“It ain’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble; it's what we know that ain’t so.”
~Will Rogers

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece - by thought, choice, courage and determination."
~John Luther

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
~Henry Ford

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.  The ripple effect of enthusiasm and optimism is awesome.  So is the impact of cynicism and pessimism.  Those who whine and blame engender those same behaviors among their colleagues. There has to be a gung-ho attitude that says “we can change things here, we can achieve awesome goals, we can be the best.”  Spare me the grim litany of the “realist,” give me the unrealistic aspirations of the optimist any day.”
~General Colin Powell

“When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something.”
~Jaren Sparks

“The time is always right to do what is right.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If you see a snake, just kill it.  Don’t appoint a committee on snakes.”
~H. Ross Perot

“A leader takes people where they want to go.  A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”
~Rosalyn Carter

“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
~Lee Iacocca

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.”
~Sam Walton

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
~Winston Churchill

“I have yet to find a man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”
~Charles Schwab

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
~John Maxwell

“I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom.  It’s my personal approach that creates the climate.  It’s my daily mood that makes the weather.  As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a person’s life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.  I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a person humanized or de-humanized.”
~Hayim Ginoh

“What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul."
~Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that she is someone today.”
~Stacia Tauscher

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
~George S. Patton

"To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is the meaning of success."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson