Team Member

Andy Smith

Andy Smith

K-12 Data and Policy Analyst

Andy is a data and policy analyst on the K-12 Policy and Practice team. He collects, analyzes, and interprets education data related to student achievement, attainment, and opportunities to learn.

Prior to joining The Education Trust, Andy participated in the Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship as a policy research associate for the Partnership for Children and Youth in Oakland, Calif. While there, he collected and analyzed data to garner support for high-quality, after-school programs. He also has served as an Ella Baker trainer for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools® program, where he worked on a team to train over 1,500 young leaders annually. In addition, he served as a positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) assistant at an elementary school in Durham, N.C.

A native of Gaston, N.C., Andy holds a master’s degree in public policy, concentrating in education policy, from Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development, as well as a bachelor’s degree in international comparative studies from Duke University. He is also an alumnus of the Center for Public Research and Leadership at Columbia Law School.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?

Laugh!

What drew you to education?

I am a Black male. Since I can remember, society has told me that I/we don’t care about education, which has been confusing to me because I — and most Black males I have known — have always been passionate about learning, so I grew up with that dissonance. That said, my sophomore year in undergrad, I took a course with a phenomenal professor at Duke (Ann Brewster) called School Dropout and Educational Policy. The course changed my perspective on most things related to education, how it’s delivered, and its (potential) function in our society. Shortly after, I became very involved with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program, led by the fearless Marian Wright Edelman. Those experiences pushed my thinking and ultimately required me to unlearn, learn, and re-learn several things I thought I knew. I haven’t turned back.

Why are you passionate about working at Ed Trust?

The Education Trust was founded to push, prod, and cajole our country toward educational justice. The last time I spoke with Rep. John Lewis, he told me to “get in good trouble … necessary trouble.” I think working at Ed Trust allows me to collaborate with a brilliant team that unwaveringly causes necessary trouble when addressing educational inequities in our society. How could I not be passionate about working here?

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