Serving the Shenandoah University community is top on Smith’s list because of his educational experiences.
Kirk E. Smith ’80 has “learned the value of making a difference” through his experiences as a professional conductor, college professor and a national leader in the arts. He plans to bring those experiences and his mentality as a “doer” to the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors.
No stranger to the board, Smith previously served from 1997 to 1998, and received the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Young Career Achievement. He has also represented Dr. James Davis at various ceremonies in Iowa.
He earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Performance Certificate in Clarinet from SU in 1980. Smith credits the professors, staff and his fellow students in the Conservatory with fostering and cultivating his professional and personal maturity. “The technical skills to enter the various doors of employment and the tenacity to stay in the room to achieve success” is what he believes he gained from his education at SU.
Smith is the head orchestra director at Conroe High School in Conroe, TX and guest conducts throughout the country. Smith’s love for teaching has played out in public schools in Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas, and he has been awarded three Grammy Signature Awards at Langham Creek High School in Houston. He is also involved with an online music teaching business.
With 30 years of teaching experience, Smith has been tenured at Georgia State University, Iowa State University and the University at Albany (N.Y.). He has also served as a conductor with the Black Music Repertory Ensemble at Columbia College in Chicago since 1992. Smith recently conducted the Olly Wilson piece, “Of Visions and Truth: A Song Cycle,” with the ensemble, which was recorded by Albany Records.
Giving back to the community is a focal point of Smith’s life, and he serves as a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis research. Each year for the past four years, he has biked over 150 miles as part of the MS 150, a two-day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin. In 1991 he established the Gloria Yvonne Smith Scholarship at Shenandoah in memory of his mother.
Smith is looking forward to serving as a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors for the next three years.