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  • Writer's pictureLaura McCamy

Safe Routes Champion Spotlight: Principal Paulette Smith




Paulette Smith has been an educator for over 22 years. She started as a teacher in the Oakland Unified School District and then became a principal. For the last five years, she’s been the principal at James Madison Elementary School in the San Leandro Unified School District. For many of those years, Smith has been a Safe Routes Champion. A Safe Routes Champion is the person who helps make the Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) Program happen at their school and brings in services. 


What Safe Routes brings to James Madison Elementary


Smith loves bringing all sorts of educational and fun offerings to enrich Madison’s curriculum and open up doors for her students. She is passionate about the families she serves and building community at Madison. Because of this, she likes the task forces the SR2S Program holds that build camaraderie and collaboration between schools where she can share ideas with colleagues she might not otherwise connect with and get valuable information. Plus, she loves seeing students having a great time walking and rolling to school.


Rolling together


“The program offers a wide variety of educational benefits to our students around pedestrian and bicycle safety, bicycle repair, climate change, and vehicle pollution reduction,” Smith says. It also encourages students to be comfortable walking or riding in their community. 


To make sure students can participate in events, Smith likes to open a track in the schoolyard so students can bike or roll at recess. And she often brings out her electric scooter or bike and rolls right along with them. SR2S events create community, pride, and excitement for the students as they see their friends roll up on skates, scooters, and bikes. And getting rewarded with a pencil for doing this one small thing means a lot to her school community.


The Golden Sneaker contest, where classrooms compete to see who can log the most days of active transportation, is one of Smith’s favorite SR2S events. “There’s a lot of pride in it,” she says. “Students are really interested in getting the golden sneaker for their classroom.” 


Collaborating with our Champions is one of the most rewarding parts of TransForm’s SR2S efforts. We appreciate fantastic Champions like Principal Paulette Smith, who keep our program rolling and help students build healthy habits.

1 Comment


Smith Joel
Smith Joel
Mar 22

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