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Meet the Superintendent Finalist: Dr. Alesia Smith, Chief of Schools for Cincinnati Public Schools

Adrianna DaviesNews

Dr. Alesia Smith is a proven transformational leader in K-12 education.  She is the former Deputy Superintendent of Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) in Little Rock, Arkansas where she was responsible for leading the supervision and development of all school leaders; learning services; and federal programs. Prior to that she served as the Chief Academic Officer for Pine Bluff School District in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  In this role, she led all low performing schools based on state identified criteria. Currently, she is the Chief of Schools for Cincinnati Public Schools in Cincinnati, Ohio.  This district is the 3rd largest district in the state.  Smith leads the instructional development of all elementary schools, supervises principal leadership support, and works closely with curriculum teams to collaborate, align, and design appropriate supports, coaching, and professional development. With a track record of teaching and leadership experience, she has a combined total of 30 years of dedicated service to education.

Dr. Smith’s credentials are highly commendable.  She is a School Turn-Around Specialist accredited from the University of Virginia. She earned her undergraduate degree from Central State University and obtained a Master’s of Education in Educational Administration from Xavier University. She received her doctoral degree in Leadership and Management from Capella University. Dr. Smith is an experienced administrator and educator of 30 years dedicated to enthusiastic and dynamic instruction that rigorously challenges students to continually meet and exceed academic standards. Prior to moving into school leadership, Smith attained 10 years teaching experience at the elementary, middle and high school level.  Since that time, she has held various leadership roles including Assistant Principal, Principal, Principal Coach, District Shepherd, Chief School Improvement Officer, District School Improvement Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction and currently the Chief of Schools.

As a principal of an inner-city school in her hometown of Cincinnati, OH, Dr. Smith accomplished the ultimate achievement in school turn-around work. She transformed Rothenberg Preparatory Academy — in just two years — from one of the 5,000 worst schools in the nation and amongst the lowest 5 percent in Ohio into a thriving educational community where children are still achieving.  

During Smith’s tenure as Chief Academic Officer for Pine Bluff School District in Arkansas, she led the charge of moving two of her four schools from F to C and the remaining schools improved one letter grade. She also saw the removal of two schools off the Academic Distress List and was recognized as one of the Top Five Educators in the nation in 2017.   While in the role as Deputy Superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District, 70% of the 24  schools experienced an increase in their ESSA Index Score. Two of the 24 schools improved by a letter grade with two others less than 0.5 percent from the next letter grade. Four schools under her leadership have also been nationally recognized by the Office for Education Policy (OEP) for regional and statewide growth on the ACT Aspire test. Based on the 2022 ACT-Aspire data: PCSSD outgrew the state in all tested categories; English, Reading, Science, and Mathematics. Based on the data from the 2022 ACT Aspire, PCSSD gained 8% district growth in mathematics, a rate more than 4 times higher than the state average. Based on the 2021 ACT-Aspire data, PCSSD has the number one elementary school within the state. As of today in at least one grade level in mathematics, 8 elementary schools scored in the top 20% achievement, 6 scored in the top 10%. As of November 2023 5 of the schools listed above are now on the US News and World Report as one of the best schools in Arkansas. 

Currently, as the Chief of Schools every school in Cincinnati Public grew in one or more areas on the Ohio State Assessment in reading, math, science, history and graduation. In the 22-23 state 63%-27 of 43 elementary schools earned a 3,4,or 5 star on the state report card in the school overall rating. 74% -31 of 42   elementary schools received 3.4. or 5 stars in Progress on the state rapport card and in area achievement 60%-12 of 20 tested areas of accountability showed growth.

Dr. Alesia Smith is a trailblazer leading the charge with intentional efforts to continue that movement throughout the district.Dr. Smith is a principal’s coach and motivational speaker; she is able to impel commitment to positive behavior and innovative instructional strategies that allow all students to succeed. 

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