Dr. Carnel Smith ’01, ’06

carnel smithDr. Carnel Smith completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at BGSU, and he knew that BGSU was the place for him because “when I went there, they didn't say, ‘What do you want?’ They asked, ‘How can we help you?’ ”

Smith has been the principal at Scott High School in Toledo since 2016. He applies his dissertation research on the effects of mentoring on African American adolescent young men to his job every day. He took those concepts and created a mentoring program for seniors at Scott. When he started as principal, less than 48% of students graduated. His mentorship program allowed students to choose their mentors from staff and suggested informal relationships centered on school to give those students support. The only qualification for mentors was they had to have a caring heart.

“The research says if these kids have at least one positive adult in their life, it enhances their chances of being successful,” Smith said. “We're here to try to remove all those obstacles and to cover the loopholes.”

By the next year, the graduation rate had improved to 77%.

Something he and his fellow school administrators struggle with is the teacher shortage. In the long term, he believes teachers should be recruited early in their education or from retired professionals, and be supported with proper salaries, respect and/or tuition, and continuous education and training. He believes that for any solution to be successful, programs need to be put in place intentionally.

In the short term, Smith has had success recruiting community members and Scott High School alumni to be substitute teachers.

Reflecting on his education, Smith believes that BGSU “gave me an opportunity, and because of that, I’m able to have an impact on students and my community.”

Updated: 01/18/2023 09:09AM