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Charles A. Smilinich
Colonial Village Elementary School
Niagara Wheatfield Central School District
Niagara Falls, New York

In a short amount of time, principal Charles Smilinich has transformed Colonial Village (CV) Elementary into one of the most proud and determined schools in the district. When he arrived there three years ago, teachers were finding it difficult to do the one thing they were supposed to do: teach. Instead, they were spending time on discipline. To solve this problem, Smilinich wrote a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education. As a result, CV was one of sixty schools out of 640 to receive the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant, providing students with necessary behavioral resources and teachers with the opportunity to teach again. According to teacher Cindi Broughton, “[Smilinich's] door is always open to anyone. He listens, he relates, he supports, and will do anything to help.” These qualities, along with his energy and passion, have helped Smilinich to inspire his students to believe in themselves as well as the school's motto, “Colonial Village: The greatest school in the universe.” With data-driven instruction, regular assessments, and service learning projects, students at CV are excelling like never before. Smilinich is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the New York State (NYS) Reading Association, and the School Administrators Association of NYS. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, an Ed.M. in Elementary Education, and an Ed.M. in Educational Leadership from the University at Buffalo.