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Commissioner Dr. James B. Smith

King County
First Term: Appointed January 2015
Term Expires: 
November, 2017

Dr. James B. Smith retired in 2003 after 35 years as a high level executive for Allstate Insurance Company. Although Dr. Smith had a BS in Business Administration, an MBA in Business Administration with emphasis in Management/Leadership, and a PhD in Business Administration with an emphasis in Leadership and Corporate Strategic planning, upon retiring he returned to graduate school (Antioch University) and obtained his K-8 Teaching credentials. Dr. Smith has been a substitute elementary school teacher for the Auburn School District, a hearing officer for the district and a professional development consultant for the Auburn School district’s teachers in the areas of diversity, multicultural education, cultural competency, and children at-risk and an education consultant.

Dr. Smith has served on the Equity Committee for the State Board of Education; and on the Bias and Fairness Review teams in several content areas for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instructions. He is currently a Board member of the Black Education Strategy Roundtable; Chair of the Seattle Breakfast Group Education Committee (recipient of the 2007 Member of the Year Award); member of the Leaders of Communities of Color for Education Excellent; Board member of CEER (Coalition of Equal Education Rights). 

He was a member of the SHB 2722 legislative Advisory Committee charged with developing teaching strategies and best practices for narrowing the achievement gap for African American students (appointed by Lt. Governor Brad Owens); a member of the Washington Education Association’s team that worked on developing strategies for recruiting and retaining diverse teachers throughout the state; and a participant on the Higher Education Commission’s Committee on Teacher Preparation. 

Dr. Smith was appointed to the Professional Education Standards Board’s Cultural Competency Standards Work Group that was created as a result of SB 5973 and SB 2261, to develop Cultural Competency Standards for all teachers throughout the state of Washington, as well as, the PESB Work group that developed the protocols for the Universities’ Superintendent Leadership Programs throughout the state.

Dr. Smith is the chairman of the Seattle Breakfast Group’s Education Committee and represents the organization on the Excellent Schools Now Coalition; the Our Seattle Schools Coalition; and the Black Policy Foundation. He was also a member of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instructions’ Dream Team. In addition, he participated as part of the committee that developed the administrative rules associated with the Civil Rights bill HB 3026 regarding discrimination in education.

Dr. Smith currently serves as an alternate on the Washington State’s Education Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee; functions as a member of the OSPI Data Governance Committee; is a consultant for the Seattle School District’s Race and Equity Superintendent Advisory Committee and is on the Governing Board of the Equity in Education Coalition. He was recently appointed to the Student Discipline Task Force that was created by legislative enacted SB 5946. In addition, he was recently appointed to the Seattle School District’s Increasing Academic Achievement for African American Male Scholars Think Tank and will be participating on an advisory team that will work with the UW’S Seattle Minority Engagement and Disproportionate Reduction (MENDR) Research Collaborative.

Dr. Smith was honored last year by the Seattle Central Area Chamber of Commerce as one of the six African American Men who have done extra ordinary things on behalf of the African American Community. He was also awarded the Ambassador for Peace recognition by the International Ambassadors for Peace Organization.

Dr. Smith was previously recognized in Who’s Who in Finance and Industry (Twenty Third Edition), Personalities of the West and Midwest (Eighth Edition), Distinguished Business and Community Service Leaders (Third Edition), and Who’s Who Global Business Leaders (1993/1994).