Rochester, MI – Brightbeam, a national nonprofit working to bring a better education and brighter future to every child, is excited to welcome Kristen C. Smith as Partner, External Affairs.
Smith has a decade-old career in education that has seen her in Head Start classrooms, high schools, and model college-in-prison programs. Her passion for education stemmed from her interest in gender equity and the experience of Black girls in education, which she wrote about in the hip-hop informed social justice anthology, Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader. She then dove head first into education policy, co-founding the South Louisiana Coalition for Education (SLCE).
Smith has served as a policy advisor fellow in the office of policy and governmental affairs at the Louisiana Department of Education, a congressional intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, DC, a national advisory board member with Advance Illinois and was appointed to Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish Sharon Weston Broome’s transition team on education. Currently she serves on Teach for America – South Louisiana’s Government Relations Committee and CHANGE’s executive council, a nonprofit structured to empower disenfranchised youth and families.
Smith holds a BA in History, and an EdM in Education Policy Studies, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Currently, she is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, earning a Doctor of Education in Diversity & Equity in Education (DE) at her alma mater. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“Kristen is going to be an invaluable member of our team. We’ve recently launched a new strategic plan and are evolving our partnership model and scaling our consultative practice,” brightbeam COO Lesley Guggenheim said. “Kristen will lead that work and, ultimately, expand brightbeam’s impact in many more communities. We’re very fortunate to have her passion and experience.”
Brightbeam is a nonprofit network of education influencers demanding a better education and a brighter future for every child. Using the power of communications, we shine a light on communities that challenge decision-makers to provide the learning opportunities all children need to thrive. We help strong voices tell powerful stories that unite and move their communities to action. Brightbeam amplifies these stories through a variety of digital platforms, including Ed Post, that spotlight education issues locally and nationally. We also partner with on-the-ground initiatives, projects or organizations that align with our mission. To learn more, visit brightbeamnetwork.org.