Columbia hires assistant superintendent

Alyssa Smith

The Columbia School Board hired Alyssa Smith as the school district’s new assistant superintendent during its May 19 meeting. 

Smith, who has most recently served as director of curriculum and instruction in the East Alton Elementary School District, will take over for Courtney Castelli when she leaves June 30 to become superintendent of the Smithton School District. 

“I’m so excited to be joining the (Columbia School District) family,” Smith tweeted after the board approved her hiring. “(I’m) looking forward to meeting the students, families and community and continuing building upon the great things going on in the district.” 

Smith obtained her bachelor’s in education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and earned her reading specialist endorsement from Greenville University. 

After school, Smith worked in the Alton School District for five years as a seventh grade language arts teacher. 

She then moved to her most recent district as a sixth grade language arts and history teacher. 

In her 14 years in East Alton, Smith taught Title I reading and served as director of student services and as the middle school principal. 

“I think my greatest asset is in curriculum, especially in the pre-K through eighth grade level,” Smith said. “I am looking forward to the challenge of working in the Columbia High School.” 

Smith said that challenge of acclimating herself to a high school curriculum was part of what interested her in the Columbia job. 

“What appealed to me with Columbia specifically is that what I love in East Alton is it’s a small district and because of that you can build relationships ­– not just with the students, faculty and staff, but also with the community members and the parents,” Smith explained. “What stuck out about to me about Columbia is, although they’re a little bit bigger than the districts in this area, the school district and the community seemed to have that small-town feeling. I really liked that they seemed to be really supportive of each other.”

Smith’s first day in Columbia is July 1. 

Once she gets started, Smith said one of her primary goals will be immersing herself in the community. 

“I think my very first (goal) is really getting to build those relationships with the faculty, staff and students and the community members,” she said. “I’m already looking at opportunities to get involved with the community.”

Smith also said she will focus on learning about the district’s curriculum overall, with an emphasis on the high school’s “to make sure we can continue to build on the amazing things Columbia is already offering their students and build well-rounded students.”

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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