A conversation with Principal Mauer-Smith


Karen Mauer Smith with her wood kayaks

Jaheim Carter, Reporter

What do you do when you’re not working? 

I spend a lot of time with my family, my husband and daughters, and my son-in-law. My husband and I love to kayak, and when the weather is warm enough, we do that. We have two golden retrievers we love to pieces, and we take them to the dog park a lot. I love reading and mysteries and historical nonfiction, and I spend time doing that too! 

 How did you come to choose your profession? 

I had a teacher named Tom Reynolds who made every class period I ever spent with him so much fun. I marveled at his ability to engage us in learning, and I wanted to do that for students too. I was a teacher for 11 years and have now been an administrator for 14 (11 years as principal). I love this work and helping young people reach their dreams. I love doing this work in the Lakes Community! I am completely biased, I know, but I think this place and the people in it ( students and staff) are pretty special! 

 What is your favorite way to relax during these stressful times? 

I think family time is vast and too, downtime, relaxing, and checking out with a good book for a while. I am the youngest of 7 siblings, so another fun thing we started doing to stay connected is Zoom Trivia nights once a week. I have to say, we got our golden retrievers, Attie and Walter, the summer before the pandemic happened, so they provided a lot of joy in a stressful time and still do.  

 What is your favorite book to read and why? 

I have so many favorites! One such favorite is The Children by David Halberstam, about the history of the young civil rights leaders and the freedom rides. I also enjoy a good John Grisham thriller now and then like The Client. 

 How were your holiday experiences throughout the pandemics time? 

My Holiday experience was probably like a lot of you all. We stayed home and kept things small; we connected with extended family via phone calls and the internet. I felt very fortunate to be able to have my immediate family with me, and we made the most of things. All in all, we were lucky for that and grateful. 

 How have you been? ( A self-help question about your mental, emotional, and social health) optional question. 

Thank you for asking; what a kind question! I really am okay. I could not ask for better students, families, or staff with whom to weather this storm! I, like everyone else, have had my moments of fear, sadness, and disappointment. Those feelings are totally okay and very regular. Also, it is totally okay to ask for help and to talk about how you are feeling. I have also had moments of inspiration and joy at watching how we as a community have worked to take care of each other.  

 What is it the Lancer community can do to help through this year? 

Two things come to mind in answering this question. The first is to continue to take care of each other! Assume positive intent, be patient, offer grace and encourage each other. Live by our motto Lancers C. A. R. E., Which means: 

We are Consistent in all we do and recognize that our success depends upon working together. 

We are Accountable to high expectations and take responsibility for our actions. We acknowledge that our behavior reflects who we are. 

We are Respectful of our differences and make meaningful connections. We recognize and love that our diversity is our strength. 

We are Encouraging and supportive even on our good and bad days.  


The second is to please keep going to finish strong! We very much want to help every Lancer succeed, and we know that this has been long and tiring. We have also    

Seen a lot of you shine even through the rough spots! Wherever you are in the process of doing school this way, let us know. Please don’t give up or think that you.   

You can’t still succeed. The path may need to be a little different, but we will support you wherever you are on your course!