A lifetime in education: COVID claims MISD board president

Bill Spinks
Midlothian Mirror
Carl Smith

For the second time in 2020, the Midlothian community was hit with awful news of the death of an elected official.

The Midlothian Independent School District announced Sunday that school board president Carl Smith passed away at the age of 77. Smith died of complications of COVID-19, the district said.

“As one of our larger-than-life MISD supporters, it was such an honor for him to serve our MISD community," the district said. "His love for children and educators will live on, and he will be greatly missed.

“Please keep Ann Margaret Smith and their daughters, and family in your thoughts and prayers during this time.”

The district said it will share details about Smith's memorial service as they become available.

Condolences were quickly expressed by several MISD faculty members.

“I’m heart broken at the passing of our fearless leader,” Heritage High School head football coach Lee Wiginton said. “My prayers are with the Smith family. Mr. Smith’s leadership and support of all students, educators, and programs have been such a blessing to our school district! He will be incredibly missed.”

Just nine days before his death, Smith had written a letter to MISD patrons on the school website updating the status of the search for a new superintendent.

Smith was senior vice president of educational entities at Scarbrough Medlin & Associates, a Plano-based insurance agency, and had been employed by the firm since 1997. He was a consultant and insurance agent for approximately 30 school districts.

Before that, Smith served for 30 years as a teacher, principal, director of secondary instruction and executive director of personnel in the Duncanville ISD.

Smith received both his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Education (1968) and Masters of Science in Public Education Degree (1976) from the University of North Texas. Additional coursework was completed at Oklahoma State University and Stephen F. Austin University. Smith had completed all required coursework for the Doctorate of Education from both the University of North Texas and Texas A&M University at Commerce.

Smith had just been promoted to MISD board president after the board reorganized following the Nov. 3 election. Smith and former board president Matt Sanders had swapped places after Sanders said board policy prevented him from remaining as president. Smith was selected as board vice president following the May 2019 election and board reorganization.

Smith was first elected to the MISD board of trustees in May 2014. “I've spent the better part of my life in education,” Smith said during his inauguration. “It really is my passion and it's in my heart.”

In 2017, Smith was defeated by current board member Tami Tobey for a seat on the board, but Smith stood for election again in 2018 and was unopposed for Place 1, returning to the board. His seat was up for re-election in May 2021.

In addition to his wife, Smith is survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter, and was preceded in death by a daughter. Three of his granddaughters attend Midlothian schools.

Smith was not related to Carl D. Smith, who is Midlothian chief of police.

The city of Midlothian has been hard-hit by sudden tragic losses this year. In February, city council member Art Pierard lost his life in a traffic accident in Waxahachie. Pierard’s council seat remained vacant as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of a special election from May to November, then the race was extended to December by a runoff.

Last week, Hud Hartson was sworn in to complete Pierard’s unexpired term after Hartson won the runoff election.