Caring for our community
Centreville Elementary School
Helping a concerned principal quietly assist students in need
Above: Trish Smith and Principal Josh Douds discuss Centreville Elementary School and the principal’s fund
Trish Smith, MainStreet Bank’s chief human resources officer, has had kids at Centreville Elementary School for 11 years now. When she was thinking about where she could put a Making Change donation to work, she immediately thought of the principal, Josh Douds.
Josh has been an inspiring leader at CES for more than five years. He draws on more than 20 years of education experience, including stints as an elementary school teacher, in special education, and in administration. He has a passion for outdoor education and teaching sustainability.
He also maintains a principal’s fund at the school, which enables him to quietly meet financial needs students may have. Within the 800-student school, “we have a very diverse population,” Josh notes. Some families can’t afford the basics, such as lunch and school supplies. Some can’t swing the extras, such as field trips and class parties. The principal’s fund ensures no child is left out. It also helps to pay for morale-boosts like pizza and ice cream to celebrate students, teachers, and their successes.
Left: Principal Josh Douds and Trish’s daughter, Darcy, take a birthday selfie (Photo: Trish Smith); Right: Exterior of Centreville Elementary School (Photo: Tyler McLatchy)
Trish gave her Making Change contribution in April as the 2022-23 school year was wrapping up, and it was well-timed. The Principal’s Fund had run dry and there were still needs to meet.
“You could tell that they really had a need for those funds,” Trish said. “It makes your heart just melt.”
Josh and the entire front-office team were floored.
A $1,000 donation “was something as an elementary school principal I’ve never experienced before,” Josh said. “Someone gave us that much money to use to be creative at supporting our students and staff.”
For Trish’s family, Centreville Elementary School is more than just a school. It’s their neighborhood hub.
Trish taught her CES 5th grader, Darcy, to pitch on the school’s baseball fields. She played basketball on its courts with her son Jordan, a CES graduate who is now in 11th grade, and she’s pretty sure he learned a thing or two from her. And she got to know other moms and dads in the neighborhood as their kids clambered all over the playground together.
Above: Trish Smith presents her donation to Principal Josh Douds (Photo: MainStreet Bank)
“This school binds people together. It’s been at the center of our family’s life for so long,” Trish said. “Josh is amazing at uniting the community and unleashing creativity.”
Case in point: Josh has championed outdoor classrooms, which create an alternative learning environment surrounded by nature. Kids can gather on tree stumps under a canvas awning for their lessons. During the Covid crisis, teaching kids outdoors alleviated a lot of stress about social distancing.
He’s been a strong steward of the school’s long environmental tradition. CES boasts a certified Schoolyard Habitat and was the first school in the U.S. to receive permanent “green flag” status from the National Wildlife Federation for its sustained commitment to the environment.
Josh always looks for ways to connect one-on-one with students, Trish said. Darcy recently came home with a new bracelet on her arm. It was from Josh, who gives every child a bracelet on their birthday. It says: “CES — We are growing, we are kind, we belong.”
Trish’s decision to support her kids’ school has reverberated through MainStreet Bank. She drove the creation of the Making Change program under CEO Jeff Dick’s guidance. Her contribution fired the imaginations of other employees and touched off a wave of school donations. In the program’s first year, 13 employees earmarked a combined $12,000 for elementary and middle schools.
Left: A young Jordan Smith learning how to play basketball at the school (Photo: Trish Smith); Right: Darcy’s birthday bracelet from Centreville Elementary (Photo: Trish Smith)
To learn more about Centerville Elementary School visit centrevillees.fcps.edu