Ryan J. Smith is the Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, a research and advocacy organization focused on educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, particularly those of color and living in poverty. Under Ryan’s leadership, the organization continues to expand its work with a specific focus on producing actionable, accessible research and advocacy tools that reach state policymakers and on-the-ground community advocates and education leaders alike. Since taking the helm of Ed Trust–West, Ryan led the team’s development and production of 2015’s Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Children in California, a report championed by the California Legislative Black Caucus, and leveraged by state and local education leaders, students, and other advocates. Ryan also guides the organization’s strategic work to better serve communities fighting for change at the local level, leading to Ed Trust–West’s launch of the inaugural Community Data and Research Hub in Southern California.
Ryan holds a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA. He has authored more than a dozen editorials and opinion pieces published in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, Education Week, US News and World Report, and others. 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”.