Southside Elementary School

Sarasota County Schools and Newtown Alive are pleased to announce that starting in the winter of 2020, Southside Elementary School will become a destination on the Newtown Alive trolley tour. The stop will feature a memorial plaque in honor of Mrs. Dorothye Smith, the first African-American principal hired within the integrated school system in Sarasota County, to celebrate and recognize her leadership at Southside Elementary. Smith was known for being a strong and compassionate educator who had an immense heart for uplifting her students, staff and colleagues. After completing her education at Bethune-Cookman University, she began her career in Sarasota teaching African-American fourth graders at Emma E. Booker Elementary School’s original campus in Overtown, the first enclave of the Newtown community. She taught there for 15 years before relocating to Venice Elementary School in the late 1950s during the integration of schools. Smith also spent time teaching at Phillippi Shores Elementary School before taking her place in history as the first black principal hired within the integrated school system in Sarasota County when she assumed leadership of Southside Elementary. She later served as a reading specialist for the district as well as an administrator at Venice Elementary before retiring.

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