Smyrna Elementary students have been getting acquainted with a new face since March with the hiring of new Associate Principal Tracie Bruno, who took over for retired Associate Principal Crystal Brown.

Bruno's career in education saw its beginnings in education teaching first grade in New Jersey before she moved to Virginia, where she taught kindergarten and then worked for a company called Futurekids. She was even a stay-at-home mother for a few years until her family moved to Smyrna and she got a job with the Smyrna School District.

Bruno took a break from her busy schedule to talk about why she applied for the position of associate principal, what she likes about it and more.

Q Why did you apply for the position at Smyrna Elementary?

A Smyrna Elementary is a great school. The staff here is truly outstanding, and there is this great family atmosphere. Working with them, I know that we can make a positive difference in the lives and education of our students. When the position became available, I just knew this was the next step for me to take.

Q How have things been so far in your new job?

A Wonderful! I love the new challenges and the opportunities to interact with all the students and their families. David Morrison, our principal, is a great mentor. Everyone has been very supportive.

Q Why do you like working in education?

A Working in education gives me an opportunity to work with passionate people to help enrich the lives of children. I love being able to work with children and their families, and watching them grow throughout the year. Each new path I explore in the field of education opens my eyes to new ways to help our students be the best learners they can be. It is a field where I get to learn something new everyday, and share what I have learned with others…and it is FUN.

Q What inspired you to work in education?

A Great teachers. I can still remember my elementary school teachers and the wonderful activities we would engage in to make learning meaningful. School was a safe place to explore unlimited ideas. Even my TV role model, Laura Ingalls, was a teacher! There was no other career path for me. Education has always been my calling.

Q What qualities does a person need to be a principal?

A There are several qualities a person needs to be a principal. You need to enjoy interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds and be a good listener. You need to be able to provide guidance, both to encourage and to redirect. You need to be fair and consistent. You need to be organized and prepared, but always ready to be flexible. It is important to be compassionate not only to the children, but also to the families and the staff.

Email Jennifer Dailey at