Glenn Smith: new principal of Honiton Community College

THE opportunity of a lifetime" is how Glenn Smith, who takes over as principal of Honiton Community College this autumn, describes his appointment.

THE opportunity of a lifetime" is how Glenn Smith, who takes over as principal of Honiton Community College this autumn, describes his appointment.He is looking forward to September 1: "To come in and take hold of the reins and work with the students and staff to ensure Honiton goes from strength to strength."Hopefully, I can lead and inspire others and ensure this takes place."Mr Smith, 42, currently vice principal at Coombeshead College, Newton Abbot, sees a priority vision for the school is to "always maximise everyone's potential, staff as well as students".He says Norman Tyson, retiring principal, has done a good job in the 17 years he has been at Honiton and has served the school well."The staff are professional and dedicated. Not only the students are important to me but also the professional approach from the staff."He wants to make the experience of being a student at the college a happy and challenging one, and says: "Within the first term my priority is to get to know both the staff and students. Your staff are your most valuable resource and a priority for me is to make sure they are well supported and looked after and produce world-class teaching and learning for the students."Born in Newton Abbot, Mr Smith was one of more than 40 applicants for the principal's job at Honiton and one of six chosen for the three-day interview process.During that time, he was interviewed by the student's executive council and says: "I was impressed by the students when I saw them at work and play. "I was impressed about their attitude to learning and how mature and responsible they were about the college, and impressed by the maturity and thought that had gone into the questions they asked as part of the interview process."So impressed was he with the students that he ultimately hopes to consider having senior student councillors as governors of the school, explaining: "I plan to ensure the students' voice becomes a bigger part of the college life."Before coming for interview, Mr Smith travelled to Honiton to look round the college to get a feel for it."You have got to be right for Honiton and I got a really good feel for the school when I came round," he explained.A family man, he is married to Sue, a learning support teaching assistant at Kingsteignton Primary, where he has been governor for 11 years. Daughter Georgia, 17, is in Year 12 studying AS levels and son Jack, 16, is working on his GCSE exams.He plans to commute from Kingsteignton, where they are in the throes of building their own home, to Honiton - "it's 31 miles door-to-door" - for the foreseeable future."Sometimes you have to put family first. Usually work takes priority, but Georgia will be in Year 13 next year and Jack has a very important two years ahead of him," said Mr Smith.But the 30-minute commute won't interfere with any community activities he may have."I will get fully involved in them. That distance will make no difference to me for developing community cohesion, which I want to develop when I get to Honiton."A keen supporter - and former player - of local football, Mr Smith enjoys playing squash and walking, particularly when Flo the retriever tags along.