Monica Smith at the CCS Halloween festivities in 2008. The Charlotte News file photo.

Dear Charlotters,

This can only be an echo of Rookie Manning’s extremely thoughtful, insightful and loving remembrance of Monica Smith. Monica’s time at Charlotte Central spanned most of my tenure on the board. Consequently, it strikes me as appropriate to underline what struck me as the essence of Rookie’s tremendous insights.

Many of us had the good fortune to be part of CCS during Monica’s time there. A simple, inescapable fact was evident: In all of my time around children—parent, coach, board-related things, simply watching—I never met anyone who loved children (and showed it) as much as Monica. The depth of that affection was often amazing. Monica had an understanding of the true nature and value of diversity—loving, as she did, each child in that child’s own right—with a depth of insight and understanding which very few have.

I once asked Monica whether she aspired to a higher level of administration. Her answer was pure Monica (delivered with that smile and accent that we all remember), “Nah—too far from the kids.”

If there was ever a person who lived her first, best choice of vocation to the fullest it was Monica.

Her patience with and understanding of children was remarkable. (This is before we even get to how well she dealt with parents and board members.) In Monica’s case, “Go to the principal’s office” took on an entirely different connotation—for everyone. Monica found and focused on the positive in some pretty tough situations as well as in her day-to-day routine. Her perseverance in doing this was phenomenal.

The children and parents who traveled through Charlotte Central School while Monica was principal received a true gift which was at times obvious, at times invisible, but which permeated every facet of life at CCS and nurtured every child in the building.

We were very lucky to have her there to light the place up (exactly, Rookie). Good fortune, indeed.

Clyde E. Baldwin