Campus History/Overview

Newman Smith High School opened on August 20, 1974 as a 8-9 grade facility with 660 students and 32 teachers.

On August 20, 2005, Smith celebrated its’ 30th anniversary with an enrollment of over 2100 students and a faculty/staff of nearly 200 professionals.

In August of 2015, Smith celebrated its’ 40th Anniversary with a campus community of approximately 2000 students and 181 employees. Additionally, an estimated 20,000 individuals have graduated from Smith since its’ inception four decades ago.

Over the past four decades NSHS has gained a reputation for keen academic achievement, a nationally recognized fine/performing arts program and exemplary student behavior. The Newman Smith culture is one of academic rigor, college preparation and keen academic expectations for students by faculty and staff. At Newman Smith, academic achievement is directly related to a student’s work ethic, creativity and self-discipline not IQ!

The Newman Smith High School culture of providing a gifted education for all students saw its’ beginning in 1974 and is still gaining momentum four decades later. This culture was set in place by a faculty, staff and administration starting with Kenneth McKinney, NSHS’s first principal (1974-1981). This culture was enriched by Dr. Charles Blanton, Dr. Lee Alvoid and current principal Joe Weldin Pouncy.

Smith’s “teen years” (1982-93) were the years of Principal Blanton. The Blanton years were marked with growth and honors generated in part via the development of the school’s strong Advanced Placement Program. Under the direction of Blanton innovative campus operational tools like Total Quality Management became a part of the school’s culture. As Smith entered the “young adult” years of its’ existence the faculty and Principal Alvoid generated change and inclusion. This change brought national recognition to the school. In 1998, Newman Smith was named a Texas Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and a U.S. Department of Education New American High School. Also, during this time period Smith received a Special Emphasis Award in fine Arts/performing arts education from the National Endowment For The Arts. Newman Smith was the only school in Texas to receive all three national awards in 1998! The innovative International Business Academy was added in 1998 to better prepare students to compete in the 21st Century Economy and into the Third Millennium. This “school within a school” was designed to provide students with a comprehensive investigation of global business and world cultures in relation to finance, world travel, marketing, manufacturing, global resources, technology, human resources, research/development, education, global leadership and logistics.  IBA graduates excel in business, law, medicine, allied health care, education, technology and public service professions.

Newman Smith was in its “teen years” when Pouncy was hired by Blanton as a teacher in 1983. Pouncy taught economics, served as assistant principal and associate principal until 2001 when he was appointed the fourth principal in the school’s history. Pouncy’s vision targeted the enrichment of the school’s instructional program with emphasis on academic rigor, academic achievement, college preparation, workplace readiness, and the development of intrinsically motivated, creative, confident graduates capable of achieving life or career goals. The goal for Smith is to better prepare graduates to compete at the post-secondary level, in the 21st Century Economy and labor force. A Science/Engineering Pathway was added in 2003-04 to provide students a focused investigation of fast changing careers in engineering, technology, science and medicine. A Culinary Arts (food science) program was added in 2006-07 to prepare students for the global hospitality industry and to train the next generation of restaurateurs, chefs and entrepreneurs. An initiative to increase the number of National Merit Scholars via the National Merit Scholarship Program (PSAT/NMSQT) and enrollment in Advanced Placement courses became a campus-wide focus by Pouncy in 2001. Since 2001, Smith students have routinely scored above state and national norm on SAT and ACT exams. Smith is one of the top producers of National Merit and AP Scholars in North Texas. A Mandarin Chinese program, initiated by Pouncy, was likewise designed to prepare graduates to compete and assume leadership roles in the global economy.

Accolades  continue to flow to Newman Smith High School during the Pouncy years due to the labor of a far-sighted and exceptional faculty.  The school’s curriculum is one of the best in the United States. Smith has received top academic ratings from various publications including Texas Monthly Magazine and “D” Magazine. For over two decades Smith has consistently been selected as one of America’s Best High Schools by the Washington Post/Newsweek Magazine, U.S. News & World Report and The Daily Beast. NSHS was selected to the Texas Pathfinder Collaborative (formally the Texas Mentor School Program), received the National Center for Educational Achievement Award of Excellence in Science, Texas Success Initiative Acknowledgement in 2009, the Texas Success Initiative-Higher Education Readiness Component for English/Language Arts Recognition in 2007, the National Center for Educational Achievement/ACT Award as a Higher Performing School in 2010 and the 2012 ACT College Readiness Award. In 2011, the Texas State Senate approved Proclamation No. 46 recognizing Newman Smith High School for having an exemplary Advanced Placement Program. In 2013, Smith was the No. 2 academically ranked school in Texas by the Education Resource Group (ERGAnalytic).

Since 2001, many national and world leaders have routinely visited the Newman Smith campus to speak to students.

Prominent leaders like U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, U.S. Representative Dick Armey, U.S. Representative Pete Sessions and Senator Barack Obama have visited the campus to speak to students regarding various world issues. Mr. Evans served in the George W. Bush White House. Mr. Armey is a former U.S. House Majority Leader and Mr. Obama was the soon to be elected 44th President of the United States. Senator Obama spoke to students on the night of the Texas Primary, March 3, 2008.

By 2012 student travel to Europe, Asia, and Canada had become a component of the academic experience at Newman Smith. The world is a “learning lab” for students via travel opportunities generated by the school’s involvement in the South Korea (Guri City) Home-Stay Program, a similiar home-stay program developed by French Teacher David Hardy in association with Le College Balzac in the Normandy Region of France and travel via the innovative International Business Academy. Likewise by 2008 travel to various domestic locations in the United States had become commonplace for students enrolled in the Science/Engineering Pathway and other programs. Newman Smith graduates includes the former president of Microsoft Canada, noted physicians, business leaders, civic leaders, and academics including a 2009 Rhodes Scholar.

A  few milestones:

  • Graduated its first class in 1979.
  • 40th Anniversary, August 20, 2015
  • Major campus fire in 1986.
  • International Business Academy opened in 1998.
  • Transferred 800 students to seed the newly constructed Creekview High School in 1998.
  • U.S. Department of Education Triple Award Winner for academic achievement in 1998 (Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, New American High School, Special Emphasis Award for Fine/Performing Arts Education by the National Endowment For the Arts.
  • Twenty-one National Merit Semi-finalists in 1997-98.
  • Thirteen National Merit Semi-finalists in 1999-2005.
  • Phase II of a $26 million campus-wide renovation project completed in August of 2006.
  • Graduated its 30th Class in June 2008.
  • Texas State Senate Proclamation #46 recognizing Newman Smith for having one of the best Advanced Placement Programs in America.
  • #2 academic school in Texas by the Educational Resource Group (ERGAnalytic) in 2013.
  • In 2014, Newman Smith academically out performed 93 percent of high schools in Texas, according to ERGAnalytic.
  • Five National Merit Finalists in 2015.
  • 90 Advanced Placement Scholars in 2015
  • The #1 Student Council Program in Texas from 2012-16 via the Texas Association of Student Councils
  • #3 UIL Science Team in Texas for 2016

Updated 7/28/16

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