Meet the Principal - Benjamin Smith

  • Benjamin Smith It is with great privilege and humility that I introduce myself as the Principal of Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School beginning July 2020. Over the last several months, I have begun the journey of getting to know the school community and I am eager to continue to meet more families and staff in the next few weeks.  My time spent with our PTO and school staff have made me even more thrilled, energized, and eager to meet all of you and join you on your child’s education journey and that of Rattlesnake Ridge Elementary School. 

    After growing up in Michigan and living in Phoenix the past 20 years, in December of 2019 my family moved to Tucson. When my wife accepted a position at the University of Arizona, we knew that our family’s next adventure was going to begin in Tucson! Our five children, ages 1 to 11, are soaking up Tucson life, including the soccer teams they play on and the great hiking and restaurant scene. It did not take long to know this is where we want to set deep roots. As a family, we relish exploration and adventure. We are often on trails or exploring different places, music festivals, food, and local & foreign cultures.    

    Whether as an educator or father, I believe that each child is a gift. When we nurture, encourage, motivate, challenge, and believe in them, we help children achieve the remarkable goals that we set for them and that they set for themselves.  If we focus on each child’s strengths, they develop pride in who they are as learners and humans and will have the tools to accomplish greatness in school and their life.  

    My leadership philosophy as an educator has been to approach my role as that of a support artist. This will be evident in my work to provide all necessary resources and support for our adult staff and families to adequately motivate, encourage, celebrate, and challenge the children at RRE.  I know if our amazing staff has the tools to help children be successful, your child will thrive. Our hope is that your child will not be able to wait to get to school each morning to dive into new learning. Our hope is that your child will take ownership in our school community as they recognize their voice as leaders and difference makers. Our hope is that your child will come home energized because they were able to lean into their strengths that day at school. Our hope is that your child will feed their dreams of the future and know that if they work hard and believe in themselves that they can accomplish anything in school and in life. Our hope is that your child will know themselves as a learner, as a human, as a sibling, as a friend, and as a citizen that has value they can and will contribute to their world.  

    A Rattlesnake Ridge education is transformative for many reasons including … 

    • The Most Caring, Dedicated Staff - Second only to their parents, teachers are responsible for unlocking every child’s potential. Our teachers are fully certified, unlike some local charter schools, and are equipped to support your child so they can realize their goals!  All staff participate in ongoing professional learning and we are moving along our path of continuous improvement just like every child at Rattlesnake Ridge.
    • Individualized Support – At Rattlesnake Ridge, we open doors to a life filled with wonder, possibility, and accomplishment. We believe each child is unique and deserves to be treated and supported in the ways that will help them be successful.  We create differentiated personalized learning plans for each child based on their current strengths and abilities.  That means that if your child is needs additional practice and support or needs to be challenged and motivated, we will provide exactly what they need to thrive at Rattlesnake Ridge.
    • Safe and Secure Learning Environment - Rattlesnake Ridge establishes classroom environments where students feel safe to take risks as our staff model how to persevere through challenges. We also have strong policies and procedures for emergencies to ensure our student and staff safety.  We are now adapting our procedures to ensure safety of all until the global pandemic risks subside.
    • Family Engagement - We are a school family! We pride ourselves on the involvement and partnership we have with our families and the community.  “It takes a village!” isn’t just a catchy slogan, it comes to life at Rattlesnake Ridge.  Our families are known for being very supportive of our staff and doing what it takes to help our students flourish!  

    The 2020-2021 school year will find us building on your child’s strengths, connecting with our community, and collaborating with all members of the school family to solve for new challenges that arise.  We do not have all the answers and maybe don’t even know all of the questions yet, but what we do know is that our staff will connect with each family to provide the best possible education and support for our students.  We are blessed to have you as part of our school family and look forward to making magical memories in the year ahead!

    Benjamin Smith
    Phone: 352-7000 - Email