2019 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Dr. Ronald Smith
Retired Superintendent, Merrick UFSD
Psychologist, Nassau County Psychological Association
Dr. Ronald Smith is a well-respected educational leader who has shared his expertise with schools throughout Long Island. He has served as superintendent of the Merrick School District. After retiring, he served in several districts in various roles, including interim superintendent, business official, assistant superintendent of personnel, and consultant to numerous administrators and boards of education.
But above all, he is a staunch advocate of stronger mental health requirements in our schools. A leading professional in the field of mental health in education, Dr. Smith frequently delivers workshops on social-emotional and mental health issues, and volunteers countless hours to a variety of state and local organizations.
Dr. Smith has served as a member of the New York State Mental Health Advisory Council, as well as a member of the Executive Board of the Nassau County Psychological Association. Dr. Smith’s recommendations, along with members of the council, were pivotal in the development of the current New York State Mental Health Regulations. Because of his work, school districts throughout the state are reviewing and refining their health education curricula and developing relationships with community partners who specialize in mental health.
Dr. Smith is co-founder of the Long Island Social Emotional Literacy Forum (LI SELF), a group of experienced educators committed to spreading awareness about and providing resources to promote social emotional learning. LI SELF is a learning community of more than 1,500 dedicated, passionate and experienced educators and mental health professionals, including district- and building-level administrators, teachers, school psychologists, school social workers and guidance counselors.
This year, LI SELF is focused on helping districts to implement the NY State Mental Health Curriculum Mandates. Through their efforts, educators across Long Island will be better equipped to create supportive school climates, developing a shared mindset and positive communication skills for both students and adults.
“Dr. Ronald Smith is the perfect example of someone who has answered a calling,” wrote his award nominator. “He is an educator’s educator and a tireless advocate who should be honored for his important work. Dr. Smith is the epitome of an education partner, not only because of his past leadership as a school administrator, but for his continued dedication to the well-being and health of the children on Long Island.”