Monday, September 16, 2019

written by Mr. Tommy Smith (a former teacher, principal, and superintendent)

I am deeply moved and honored to contribute to this handbook for Tommy Smith Elementary School. I am grateful for the action of the Bay County School Board in naming this school for me. It is very humbling to know that something of this importance will remain for perpetuity, a sacred tribute. The school location was originally the homestead of George McCall. The McCall home was often an overnight stop for travelers coming down the Marianna Road, now Highway 231. It was later converted into a sod farm. The land was purchased from George Mauldin, Jack Laird, and Percy Simmons on June 5, 1979, for $245,000. The Bay County School Board had previously proposed construction of an elementary school on property owned by the Board in the eastern edge of Lynn Haven. However, a Department of Education site survey rejected the site as being too far from future population and recommended the area where the present property was purchased. The 35.95 acre parcel was intended for a middle and elementary school. Tommy Smith Elementary was approved with the employment of the architectural firm of Harvard, Jolly, Marcet, and Associates on November1, 1990. Board members approving the project were Deane Bozeman, Linda Grantham, Robert Young, Tommy Smith, and Earl Cochran. Jack Simonson was Superintendent. Plans were approved by the Board in May of 1990. A contract was signed with Strickland Construction Company of Panama City for the $5,800,000 school. A personal appeal by Tommy Thomas representing local citizens was accepted by the Board in naming the school Tommy Smith Elementary. The excellent educational planning, architectural drawings, and construction of this school has produced a building that will be a Florida showcase, a forerunner for future school construction. Mr. Tommy Marshall was selected as the first principal of the school and his appointment of teachers and staff for the school assured a quality program that matched the excellence of the building. Mrs. Lynn Stryker currently serving as principal, and will continue with promoting the tradition of excellence at Tommy Smith Elementary.