Smyrna High School has had the great pleasure of recently welcoming two new associate principals into the Smyrna Eagles nest – LaTonya Pierce and Leon Clarke.

Clarke and Pierce replace former SHS associate principals John Camponelli and Mikell Reed. Camponelli left SHS for a position in the Appoquinimink School District; Reed is now the associate principal at Clayton Elementary.

LaTonya Pierce

Pierce comes to Smyrna High School after working at Caesar Rodney High School for nine and a half years.

Her goal as an administrator at Smyrna High is to help with guidance at Smyrna. Pierce enjoys working with kids. Even as a teenager she would play teacher with her little cousins, and volunteered at the boys and girls club because she wanted to help shape children's lives.

"I want to be a building principal, teach higher education, encourage students, and have the opportunity to be creative and shape young adults," Pierce said.

Pierce went to Delaware State University for one year, then Delaware Technical Community College to get an associate's degree and a degree in human services. After attending both of those colleges, she attended Wilmington University where she received a bachelor's degree in behavior science, and a master's degree in special education and school leadership. Pierce is currently pursuing a doctorate at Wilmington University.

A lot of things attracted Pierce to Smyrna High School, one of which was that Smyrna is family-orientated and very welcoming. Pierce said the hardest part of her job is being viewed as the enemy in the eyes of some students.

Married with two kids, Pierce's hobbies when she isn't working include reading, shopping, and traveling.

Leon Clarke

Clarke joins Smyrna High School after previously working at Ferris School for Boys in Wilmington.

Clarke has taught every class from English to math; he also taught lower level reading. Clarke was a principal at Ferris and also was dean of students. Clarke's goals as an administrator are to work with the staff and students, enhance the level of education, help SHS students think critically and become a good member of the community.

Clarke said he is gratified to make relationships with students and to make a difference with people.

"I like the interactions with people," Clarke said. "But the best part is when you see kids you knew as freshmen all the way up to when they are seniors and being thanked for all you've done."

Clarke went to the University of Delaware and received a degree in human resources, education, and public policy; he minored in Black American Studies.

A lot of things attracted Clarke to Smyrna High School, but the main thing that stood out was he believed SHS has everything: family atmosphere, healthy environment, and a welcoming staff.

Clarke said that time management is the hard part of his job as well as making sure he's accountable for his actions.

He is married with two young children. Clarke's hobbies are reading, being a life-long learner, and working out early in the morning to prepare emotionally and physically for the day.