Dr. Ryan J. Smith supports the policy, advocacy, organizing and powerbuilding efforts for Community Coalition. Prior to joining the Community Coalition, Ryan served as the Chief External Officer for LA Unified’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools overseeing the organization’s development, communications, policy and advocacy, and family and community engagement initiatives.. Before that, Ryan served as the Executive Director of the Education Trust-West and Vice President of Strategic Advocacy for the Education Trust, a national education civil rights organization dedicated to closing opportunity gaps. At The Education Trust-West, he worked on producing actionable, accessible research and advocacy tools that reached state policymakers and on-the-ground community advocates and education leaders alike. Ryan also led the team’s development and production of Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Students in California, and The Majority Report: Supporting the Educational Success of Latino Students in California. Before Ed Trust, he served as the Director of Education Programs and Policy for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where he was responsible for education program and policy efforts for the organization.
Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA, and a Doctorate of Education from UCLA. He served as an Annie E. Casey Children and Family Fellow and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond appointed him as a Co-Chair of his Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative.
Fun Fact: Ryan spent a brief period of his career as a teacher in Mexico City which happens to be his favorite city in the world (after LA, of course). He goes back every year to check on his former students.