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For Duncanville Schools To Excel, Its New Leader Makes Community-Driven Choices

Duncanville ISD
Duncanville Superintendent Marc Smith surrounded by students in the district he has led since April.

Superintendent Marc Smith is creating new programs and partnerships he hopes will help Duncanville schools stand out. With 13,000 students, Duncanville is twice as big as Marshall Independent School District in East Texas. That's where Smith had worked since 2012 before heading west this spring. 

After starting his new job in April, Smith spent months meeting with what he calls internal and external stakeholders. They included everyone from school employees and board members to parents, businesses and civic leaders.

What did he hear after listening during his first 100 days? Duncanville residents believe in the district and also want more educational options. Smith said parents want what’s now offered at nearby charter schools and neighboring districts. For example, surrounding districts offer full-day pre-k, programs with college credit, and a variety of focused, academic choices like Fine Arts and STEM academies (science, technology, engineering, math).

And they’ve been so successful, Smith says these competitive options have led to a decline in Duncanville’s overall enrollment. He aims to stop the loss of students.

Marc Smith is now working to help the district catch up, while stressing both high standards and high expectations. It means developing new community relationships while reinforcing old partnerships. He’s also reaching out in new ways to local colleges and universities. He wants to build on relationships already established with Mountain View College, UNT-Dallas, Texas A&M and others. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.