Who's Who Top Educators

Dr. Marion Smith Jr.

Title: Chief Academic Officer / Deputy Superintendent of Academics
Company: St. Louis Public Schools
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Dr. Marion Smith Jr. has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for his achievements in education, impact on learning and teaching, and his transformative leadership

  • Visionary, transformative and impact-driven education leader with a proven track record of driving innovation, fostering equity and accelerating academic outcomes
  • Scholar-practitioner with experiences spanning public school teaching, school leadership, EdTech leadership, elected board membership, regional leadership and school district cabinet-level leadership (including Chief Academic Officer and Superintendent of Schools) in diverse ethnic, linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic school districts with enrollment ranging from 3,400 – 310,000 students
  • Strong fiscal leader with experience managing the implementation of budgets totaling up to $45 million
  • Co-author of the Racial Equity Adaptive Leadership (R.E.A.L.) Framework; featured speaker and presenter at the national, state and regional levels covering topics ranging from adaptive leadership, critical pedagogy, adult learning, implementation science, systems thinking and racial equity/diversity/inclusion (REDI)
  • Legal acumen and data-informed systems thinker who leads and supports cross-functional teams to manage complex organizational growth and change

Dr. Smith brings over 20 years of visionary leadership impacting and managing complex organizational growth and change in PK-12 education, post-secondary institutions and EdTech. He has honed his career in diverse ethnic, racial, linguistic, socioeconomic and cultural settings in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada; North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington; Summit County, Colorado and most recently the City of St. Louis, Missouri.

Most recently, Dr. Smith served as the Chief Academic Officer / Deputy Superintendent of Academics of St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS). During his tenure, he provided leadership, vision, oversight and strategic direction for the Academic Office Division to support the central mission of the school district: learning, teaching and academic growth impacting 20,000 PK-12 scholars (students).

Prior to joining SLPS, Dr. Smith served as the Superintendent of Schools of Summit School District in Summit County, Colorado, where he led the district during the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, oversaw the learning of 3,400 scholars and supported over 650 employees with an annual general operating budget of $42 million. He was the first Black administrator and first Black superintendent in the 150-year history of the school district. During the 2020-2021 school year, Dr. Smith collaborated with the school district community to implement foundational equity professional learning districtwide that was used to frame the work of the District Equity Advisory Team (EAT) resulting in the development of a new, first of its kind, district Equity Policy (‘Just and Equitable Education’) unanimously approved and adopted by the Board of Education. Additionally, he oversaw the launch of a community-wide process and strategic plan steering committee resulting in the development of a District Graduate Profile and new, future focused multi-year District Strategic Plan. Dr. Smith has also held leadership roles within Puget Sound Educational Service District, Kent School District, Seattle Public Schools, Scholar Academies and Clark County School District. He began his career as a secondary English language arts teacher. 

Guided by an unwavering pursuit of personal, institutional and systemic equity, Dr. Smith co-authored the Racial Equity Adaptive Leadership (R.E.A.L.) Framework, an innovative approach that addresses the interplay between systems thinking, adaptive leadership and anti-racist practices. In addition to his scholarship, Dr. Smith is the founder and owner of Educate to Liberate Consulting, which is home to the experiential, three-day ‘R.E.A.L. Institute. Additionally, he is the co-designer and co-facilitator of the three day ‘Coaching and Leading for Racial Equity Institute’ that has since become foundational training and professional development offered by the largest educational service district (ESD) in Washington State that serves 35 school districts, 9 charter schools, 2 tribal compact schools and 270 private schools educating over 400,000 PK-12 scholars.

A life-long learner with a focus on excellence, Dr. Smith is a former public school K-12 student, performing arts high school graduate, and first-generation college student. His scholarship includes a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and a master’s degree in Education Administration & Supervision with K-12 Principal Certification from the University of Phoenix- Las Vegas campus. He earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership & Change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA, and pursued post-doctoral studies in Executive Leadership at Seattle University (Seattle U) earning Washington State Superintendent Certification. Additionally, Dr. Smith is an inaugural graduate of the Urban Superintendents Academy from the University of Southern California; a Harvard Business School Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) Summer Institute alumni; Men of Color in Educational Leadership (MCEL) National Leadership Institute Inaugural Fellow; and an upcoming Spring 2024 graduate from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

For more information, please visit:
St. Louis Public Schools
Educate to Liberate Website

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