Founder & Chief Learning Strategist
Dr. Marion Smith Jr. is a Black man, first!
As a critical pedagogy / critical race theory (CRT) scholar practitioner, adaptive leadership specialist and career-long, certificated PK-12 and post secondary urban education teacher and leader, Marion is a bold and fearless champion for racial equity, student voice and learning-focused continuous improvement. He has honed his career in diverse ethnic, linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic settings in Las Vegas, Nevada; North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Seattle, Washington, where he has served and supported school districts and educational communities with enrollment ranging from 50 – 420,000 students.
Marion brings 20 years of experience as an educator leading and managing complex organizational development and change. He has a tested and proven track record of disrupting and dismantling inequitable systems, policies, practices and procedures to co-create the structures needed to close opportunity and achievement gaps while strengthening student educational outcomes.
Professional experiences include chief operating & education officer of EdTech company TechSmart (national headquarters Seattle, WA); executive director of learning improvement in Kent School District (Kent, WA); regional director of K-12 leadership and school improvement with Puget Sound Educational Service District (Renton, WA); superintendent of schools intern in Tukwila School District (Tukwila, WA); principal and assistant principal in Seattle Public Schools (Seattle, WA); P-8 turnaround charter school founding director with Scholar Academies (North Philadelphia, PA); and middle school dean of students in the Clark County School District (Las Vegas, NV)- the fifth largest school district in the nation and his hometown school district.
Prior to becoming an administrator, Marion was a middle school and high school English teacher and AVID curriculum specialist in the Clark County School District and taught Pre-K in a community center multilingual early childhood education program.
Marion’s professional and community affiliations include service on a variety of non-profit boards advancing public education and supporting families and children. Currently he serves on the Board of Directors of the Black Education Strategy Roundtable (BESR) and is an elected official serving on the Puget Sound Educational Service District Board of Directors. Prior service includes Professional Education Advisory Board at Seattle University, Child Care Resources Board of Directors, Equity and Race Advisory Committee to the Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, and appointment by the Washington State Supreme Court to the Access to Justice Board.
A former K-12 public school student and performing arts high school graduate, Marion’s scholarship includes a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), a master’s degree in Education Administration & Supervision with K-12 Principal Certification from the University of Phoenix-Las Vegas campus, and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership & Change from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA. He pursued post-doctoral studies in Executive Leadership at Seattle University (Seattle U) and earned Washington State Superintendent Certification. In 2016, Marion attended the Harvard Institute for Superintendents and District Leaders, and was an inaugural graduate of The School Superintendents Association (AASA) Urban Superintendents Academy at the University of Southern California (USC)– a cross-institutional partnership that offers a dynamic approach to urban superintendent preparation and certification to bolster the effectiveness of school district leadership in our nation’s urban areas.