Samuel J. Smith is Professor and Director of the School Administration Program at
Liberty University. Prior to coming to Liberty in 2006, he taught at Belhaven University
and Mid-America Christian University. He also served in both public and private K-12
schools and was administrator of schools in Texas and Florida. 

Dr. Smith holds degrees from Oklahoma State University (Ed.D. Curriculum and
Instruction), Grace College (M.A. School Administration), and Mid-America Christian
University (B.A. English). He completed post-baccalaureate studies at Houston Baptist
University (History Education). 

Together with his wife Sonja, also an educator, he enjoys music, theater, reading, the
beach, and time with family. 

LIFE VERSE: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will
counsel you with my loving eye on you" (Psalm 32:8, NIV). 

RESEARCH INTERESTS: • Learning Theory • Character Education • Educational Leadership •
History Education • English Education • Second-Career Teachers (Career Switchers) 



Public and Private School Administration: An Overview in Christian Perspective (with James A. Swezey (Editor)) (2013)

Whether preparing for a future position as a principal or presently beginning to navigate the...


Contributions to Books


Horace Bushnell: Advocate of Progressive Orthodoxy and Christian Nurture (with Elmer L. Towns), A History of Religious Educators (2015)

Disparaged by his critics as a liberal, Calvinist, mystic, and heretic, Horace Bushnell’s theology—particularly his...



Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy (2014)

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) was a Swiss educator whose philosophy of education was based on...



School Improvement: Data-driven and Vision-centered, Public & Private School Administration: An Overview in Christian Perspective (2013)

Building upon the previous chapter’s discussion of the importance of a shared vision, this chapter...



Case Studies: Developing Decision-making Skills in Diverse Simulated Environments, Handbook of Virtual Online Instruction and Programs in Education Leadership (2012)

Traditional print case studies have been a long-standing instructional strategy for educational leadership preparation programs....



Death of a Child, Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling (2011)

Of the possible losses one might experience, the death of a child is among the...


Journal Articles


Success Despite Socioeconomics: A Case Study of a High-Achieving, High-Poverty School (with Thomas Brent Tilley and Russell L. Claxton), Journal of School Public Relations (2013)

This case study of a high-achieving, high-poverty school describes the school’s leadership, culture, and programs...



Establishing Special Education Programs: Experiences of Christian School Principals (with Gary Cookson), Journal of Research on Christian Education (2012)

This phenomenological study investigated the experiences of principals who initiated special education programs in Christian...



The Role of Controversial Issues in Moral Education: Approaches and Attitudes of Christian School Educators, Journal of the International Christian Community for Teacher Education (2011)

This study investigated the approaches and attitudes of Christian school teachers as they addressed controversial...



Preservice Second-Career Teachers in a Blended Online-Residential Preparation Program: Profiling Characteristics and Motivations (with John J. Pantana), The Teacher Educators’ Journal (2010)

This study examined preservice second-career teachers (SCTs), their motivations for switching careers, and their perceptions...



Called to Teach: Interpreting the Phenomenon of Calling as a Motivating Factor (with Jared T. Bigham), Life@School (2008)

This hermeneutic phenomenological study examines the phenomenon of the calling to teach. Nine participants were...




Challenges for Novice Principals: Facing 21st-Century Issues in School Administration (with Russell L. Claxton), Kappa Delta Pi (2014)

Challenges for novice school leaders evolve as information is managed differently and as societal and...



Framework for Problem-Based Learning: Incorporating Case Studies, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Liberty University (2014)

The ETIPS framework for case studies transcends traditional text-based cases. The online case studies afford...



Constructing and Using Rubrics to Enhance Learning, International Schools of China (2013)

Believing that rubrics complicate grading and are more time-consuming, many teachers avoid using them altogether....



Differentiated Assessment, International Schools of China (2013)

Classroom teachers have made progress understanding and implementing differentiated instruction, but what about assessments? Shouldn’t...



Do Student Portfolios Have a Place in My Classroom?, International Schools of China (2013)

It’s more than a scrapbook! You can implement meaningful portfolios that serve as evidence of...