Ryan Smith

Guest Blogger

Executive Director, The Education Trust—West

Los Angeles, California

Prior to joining The Education Trust–West, Ryan was 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 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…

By Ryan Smith

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Posted June 19, 2019
father walking little daughter to school or daycare, back to school

There’s a Difference Between a ‘Good’ School and Choosing Whiteness and Wealth

It’s nearly summer, and while for most that means the end of a school year, for many it also means transition. Preschoolers transition to kindergarten,…

By Zachary Wright 

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Posted June 19, 2019

Just Like Emancipation, Quality Schools Are Being Delayed and Denied to Black Students

“Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” While many Americans are waiting with baited breath for July 4,…

By Sharif El-Mekki

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Posted June 18, 2019
Boy in front of school bus.

What It’s Like to Attend School in Rural America

On a rainy day in May of 2018, I toured a public school in northern Pennsylvania. Most of the students were eligible for free lunch.…

By Jennifer Wahl

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How does the federal government support our public schools? Find out the ABC’s of ESEA, ESSA and No Child Left Behind →

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