Ryan Smith

Guest Blogger

Chief External Officer, The Education Trust—West

Los Angeles, California

Ryan Smith is the chief external officer for The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Prior to joining The Partnership, Ryan was the executive director and vice president of strategic advocacy for of The Education Trust–West, an education civil rights organization dedicated to closing opportunity gaps. Ryan was also the director of education programs and policy for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles where he was responsible for the education program and policy efforts for the organization. He also coordinated Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS), a Los Angeles-based coalition of civil rights, education and community advocacy groups dedicated to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps for students-of-color and students living in poverty.

Prior to his role at the United Way, Ryan worked for former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. In his role as Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement, Ryan led a team that improved parent involvement over 40 percent and built systems within schools to help support authentic family, school and community partnerships. Ryan founded the Parent College which so far has educated over 5,000 parents across Los Angeles on the “parent three r’s”—their rights, roles and responsibilities.

Prior to joining the Partnership, Ryan was the director of the Los Angeles Parents Union and managed public affairs for Green Dot Public Schools. He has also worked as a youth organizer for Youth United for Community Action’s (YUCA) educational equity campaigns and worked as a volunteer teacher in Mexico City and Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Ryan currently serves as a Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellow. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently a doctoral candidate in education at UCLA. Ryan has authored more than a dozen editorials and opinion pieces published in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, EdSource, and other publications. He was named by Education Week as one of the “Ten Education Leaders to Watch” nationally and also received the Families in Schools’ “Parent Engagement Leader of the Year Award”.

RECENT POSTS

Posted Feb. 25, 2021

The FCC Can Help End Digital Segregation Now by Expanding E-Rate

Exactly 60 years ago, James Baldwin wrote in Esquire magazine that “Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how…

By Ryan Smith, Ana Ponce

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Posted June 8, 2016

Here’s Why We Fight for Equity, Accountability and ESSA in California

They rose before dawn, kissing mothers and fathers goodbye, loading onto buses bound for Sacramento, 1,000 Black students strong. A…

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Posted Oct. 26, 2021

When We Let Go of Assumptions About What School Should Look Like, We Can Better Support the Whole Child

The Center on Reinventing Public Education has been a leader in tracking school districts’ responses to the pandemic and in showcasing innovations that could help…

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Posted Oct. 21, 2021

Q&A With Sharif El-Mekki and Shareefah Mason: You Won’t Retain Black Teachers Without Transforming Your School Culture

Shareefah Mason of Teach Plus and Sharif El-Mekki of the Center for Black Educator Development (CBED) believe that schools can only recruit and retain Black…

By Laura Waters

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Posted Oct. 20, 2021

While We Debate Mandatory Vaccines for Teachers, It’s the Kids Who Suffer

I recently wrote a post urging us, as an educator community, to prioritize the health and safety of our students and fellow teaching colleagues as…

By Kwame Sarfo-Mensah

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