For the past 23 years, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has honored a variety of men and women with its Quasar Award. This special award recognizes an individual who has contributed greatly to the economic vitality and diversity of the Bay Area Houston region. Although the honorees have come from many backgrounds, they all have shared a particular quality — respected leadership.
Dr. Greg Smith, superintendent of Clear Creek Independent School District since 2008, is that kind of leader, and BAHEP honored him on Jan. 29th with its 2016 Quasar Award presented at the organization’s much anticipated annual banquet held at South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center.
Clear Creek ISD has more than 41,000 students and 5,000 staff members. Under Smith’s guidance, student performance has increased in all state indicators as well as college entrance exams. Today, Clear Creek ISD is considered one of the largest high performing school districts in Texas.
Additional recognition given
Prior to the award presentation, Texas Sen. John Cornyn congratulated Smith by way of a special video presentation, since prior commitments prevented a personal appearance by the senator. A congressional resolution, as well as a resolution from the State of Texas, which were presented by numerous of the region’s elected officials, recognized Smith’s leadership, dedication, commitment and perseverance over a 35-year career in education.
Smith gives heartfelt acceptance speech
When Bob Mitchell, BAHEP president, first notified Smith that he would be the Quasar Award honoree, Smith said that he was personally humbled, thrilled, and felt a bit unworthy of the great honor. Those who know the good Dr. Smith would not be surprised at his reply, since the superintendent is the first to recognize others’ accomplishments before his own.
In fact, he did so several times throughout his acceptance speech. He spoke of a student who overcame great odds to become a "rock star pediatric nurse” at UTMB-Galveston and another student, a sophomore, who is taking on and changing the world through his inventions.
Smith recognized other leaders throughout the community who are making a difference every day. He said, "Bay Area Houston is also a destination; it is not a place where you simply journey through. People here have purpose. It is that ‘can do’ attitude that has created a sturdy foundation for early learners and propelled this school district to record graduation rates with more minorities enrolling in and finishing college than ever before.
"It is because of people like you in this room that children in this community will realize their hopes, dreams and aspirations for generations to come, because we don’t rest on our laurels but use past success as the fuel to a brighter tomorrow.”
Smith’s remarks were followed by a long, standing ovation. His speech was thoughtfully written and presented well. However, the applause was not for the words but for the man who delivered them, a truly respected leader in Bay Area Houston — Dr. Greg Smith.
Pictured left to right are Victor Pierson, president and CEO of Moody National Bank and BAHEP's 2015 Chairman of the Board; Congressman Randy Weber; Congressman Brian Babin, DDS; Dr. Greg Smith; Texas State Senator Larry Taylor; Texas State Representatives Dennis Paul and Greg Bonnen, MD; John Elbon, vice president and general manager, Space Exploration, a division of The Boeing Company, and 2016 BAHEP Chairman of the Board; and BAHEP President Bob Mitchell. The elected officials presented Dr. Smith state and national resolutions honoring him for his many accomplishments spanning a 35-year career in education. (photo by Bill Stafford)