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JEFCOED Welcomes Our Two New Deputy Superintendents
Posted on 06/20/2017
This is the image for the news article titled JEFCOED Welcomes Our Two New Deputy SuperintendentsMeet Dr. Shelley Vail-Smith
Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning


Dr. Shelley Vail-Smith has come full circle. She always wanted to be a teacher, make a difference and then secure a leadership position in her home school district. From winning a local PTA Council scholarship as a student readying for college to being named her school’s second-mile teacher in 1998 to graduating from Corner High School in 1987 and setting her goal to become a teacher, she has known what she wanted to do and set about doing it. “I ran from being in education at first and thought prelaw or engineering was it for me, but only education makes me happy.”

At Samford University, she received her doctoral in educational leadership, her educational specialist degree, administration certification, and bachelor’s degree. Her masters in English came from UAB. After graduation from college, she taught for 10 years from 1991 to 2001 as an English teacher at two JEFCOED high schools, Hewitt-Trussville High and Pinson Valley, becoming the department head at Pinson where she initiated vertical team training with feeder pattern schools.

In 2003, she became assistant principal for Hayden Middle School where she received multiple grants for playground expansion and school campus improvements. After four years, she moved to the principal of Hayden Elementary School, where during her eight years she implemented AMSTI, won grants and evolved numerous teachers into becoming AMSTI trainers. She also reduced litigation involving special education students.

During this time, she also became an adjunct professor at Samford University where she was part of the Turnaround School Leaders Program Design Team, teaching many courses in curriculum design, instructional leadership and education business management. She served on the dissertation committee as a member for more than 20 candidates, 95% of whom completed and defended their dissertation successfully.

After leaving the Hayden Elementary School as principal in 2015, she was named executive director of curriculum and instruction for Limestone County Schools in Athens, AL. There she was responsible for supervising federals programs, technology, career tech, and special education. She created and implemented their strategic plan, implemented districtwide STEM programming; increased AP and Laying the Foundation programming for dual enrollment; and created in-house at- risk programs for more than 80 students for credit-recovery and career tech opportunities in her first year there.

Her Mother is Betty Vail who was office manager for Corner High school for 25 years before retiring 18 years ago. Her sister is Jennifer Harris, the librarian at Corner School. She is married to Gary Smith and they have two children Garrison, a 2017 graduate from Hayden High School and Gracie who attends JCIB at Shades Valley High School as a rising sophomore. She begins her position July 5.

Dr. Pouncey said, “We welcome her to the JEFCOED family and look forward to her instructional/curriculum leadership in our district.”



Meet Dr. Walter Gonsoulin
Deputy Superintendent of School and Community Support


Dr. Walter Gonsoulin earned his two bachelor’s of arts degrees both from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1990 for interpersonal counseling and communication and in elementary education 1994. His master’s in education came from Southern University in 1996 and his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Mississippi State in spring of 2001. He joins the JEFCOED Family as a deputy superintendent and will be supervising 28 of its 56 schools. 

Walter Gonsoulin began his career in 1991 as a sixth-grade teacher in New Iberia, LA. where Tabasco Sauce is made by the McIlhenny family.  He taught for three years there before moving to St. Martinville as a fifth-grade teacher and PE teacher for grades 4-6.   In his next career move he went from middle school assistant principal to junior high principal, his first two administrative jobs at the school level. Next, he became an adjunct professor and later a professor at Southern University in the School of Finance.

He became an assistant director of Millsaps Career and Technology Department for Starkville School District and then served six years as a consultant in diversity training for Louisiana Parish School Districts. During those six years as consultant, he was also assistant professor for diversity, classroom management, and curriculum and instruction at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. He is currently serving Fairfield City Schools as Superintendent. 

Dr. Pouncey said of the appointment, “I have always admired his work as a fellow superintendent in Fairfield City Schools and will seek his leadership ideas to move JEFCOED Schools forward to make a difference for our students.”  Dr. Gonsoulin begins work August 1.