Principal Deb Smith skiis her way to retirement


Jade Campbell

Principal Deb Smith takes a phone call during school. This year will be Smith’s last year as she plans to retire.

Martin Garcia

David Eskichyan
Principal Deb Smith has had a long career in education. As her career comes to a close with her retirement soon approaching, here is a summary of her long career.


Principal Deb Smith sits with newly promoted Magnet Coordinator Leah Pevar, School Administrator Assistant (SAA) Lubia Gutierrez and school psychologist Eliana Lichtman at the round table in her office eating Lean Cuisine despite thinking she shouldn’t.

This school year will be Smith’s last at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. But the mood in the room isn’t one of sadness.

“Sometimes people delay retiring because they don’t have a plan- they don’t know what they want to do when they retire so they’re afraid,” Principal Deb Smith said. “I’m doing the work. I got the plan in motion and I want to do it.”

If anything is true, it’s that Smith is hardworking. Not only has she worked in education for 41 years, throughout those years she’s gone teaching from school to school, so much so that a list would be better than saying it outright. And the students can see it.

“She’s given me advice about school and four year colleges, about paying attention and learning and don’t take anything for granted,” junior Melissa Almendarez said. “Sophomore year- when I started- we (her and a friend) came really late. She showed us around like a mini tour and took us to Mr. Schaffter’s class.”

If you haven’t experienced other high schools, you might not realize how non-standard the principal experience is.

“I’ve worked in different schools and always see the principal’s office is kind of hiding,” Lupe Osorio, office technician, said. “But with Mrs. Smith, her door’s not only open to students but parents or any other faculty and she can do it right away.”

It’s clear Smith is loved by her school and the love is mutual.

“I really enjoy working with the students at our school and I have great memories of the kids that came here and left,” Smith said.

After retiring, Smith will be living in Mammoth Mountain, CA where she’ll be teaching skiing, biking and kayaking to disabled military veterans under the Wounded Warriors Project. In between summer and winter, Smith plans to live in Texas and buy houses that need to be repaired and fixed.

There’s a variety of things Smith wants to try out when she retires and a lot of it centers around helping and teaching people.

“I might go volunteer over at a school and maybe read stories to kids, work in the library or help in the office,” Smith said.

Regardless of what Smith will do after retiring, she has left a permanent spot at DPMHS.

“Students will really miss her and so will the staff,” Pevar said. “She’s been a great leader, she’s so knowledgeable, she has so many years of experience. She knows what to do in so many different situation; I feel really lucky to have this year out of the classroom, working with her and learning from her.”