St. Thomas District
Jeanette Smith-Barry was born and raised in St. Thomas, USVI and graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School as a top ten honor graduate in the Class of 1969. Her childhood dream to become a teacher was realized upon graduation from then College of the Virgin Islands in 1973, when she began pursuing what would literally become her life’s work and passion: educating children in the Virgin Islands. She subsequently earned a Master’s Degree from the University of Connecticut and completed all post graduate work at the University of Miami toward a doctoral degree in educational leadership, taught in the UVI Continuing Education Program, and studied further in programs and institutes at Harvard University, University of Delaware, Fordham University, and at the Michigan SUPES Academy for new and aspiring superintendents.
Jeanette’s work in the field of education, a career of service, which she characterizes as her “calling,” took her from the classroom to other leadership roles including assistant principal (1989), principal of her Alma Mater, Charlotte Amalie High School (1995), and to the position of Insular Superintendent of Schools for the District of St. Thomas and St. John (2008), the position from which she retired on September 30, 2014, after a total of 41 years of service in education in this territory. As assistant principal, principal, and Superintendent, she was successful in initiating and leading several school wide and district wide academic improvement, professional development, and community partnership programs that benefitted students. Among these are programs focused on increased learning time through block scheduling, ninth grade academic learning teams, on-line intervention programs, free Credit Recovery and Summer Bridge programs, Kinder Camp for incoming kindergarteners, Parent University, Junior University (for 7th grade boys) in collaboration with UVI, and one-to-one ipad learning programs in various schools. She has produced a picturesque resource document entitled, Our Educators, Our Schools, which is a compilation of the legislative acts and biographical information about the educators after whom our St. Thomas and St. John schools are named.
Jeanette has always been relentless, concerned, and involved in efforts that encourage excellence and that improve student outcomes and the overall quality of education offered in the Territory. Her belief in the potential of every child, her tireless efforts and her hard work have yielded many personal and professional rewards. She has been recognized for her work by CAHS reunion classes and various civic, church, and community organizations. She is a Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow, a member of the UVI Golden Key Society, a recipient of the Family Resource Center Peacemaker Award, and she was also honored by having her picture hung among other notable alumni on the Wall of Fame at Charlotte Amalie High School. She remains an active member of the Memorial Moravian Church and the Moravian School Board.
As an elected member of the VI Board of Education, Jeanette is continuing to give of her time and talents to work especially on policy issues and oversight responsibilities, for good policy and proper oversight can help to improve education quality. Jeanette believes that a good education is a basic human right, that all students deserve to have the best teachers, administrators, curricula, learning environments, supports, and experiences that will equip them for success in school, in careers, and in life in any society.
Jeanette has one daughter, Tarah Graham-Hodge, and two grandchildren, Ky’Ara and Kanai Hodge.