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Steve Smith

Education administrator Steve Smith was born in 1964 in Albany, Georgia. After graduating from high school, he attended several institutions of higher education. Smith received both his B.A degree in English education and M.A. degree in education administration from the University of Georgia. He also holds an Ed.S. degree in education management from Troy State University. In 2010, Smith earned his M.B.A. degree after completing the executive format of the University of Georgia’s M.B.A. program at Terry College. The program included an international residency to Vietnam and China. In addition, Smith is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia

Smith has over twenty-five years of business leadership experience, ranging from education, marketing and communications to business development and fiscal management. From 1991 to 1997, Smith served as a principal in the Fulton County School System, and was director of administrative services for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Smith served as vice president of corporate responsibility for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS), where he directed the review, selection and funding of community non-profit organizations through TBS, Inc.’s corporate philanthropy program. In 2009, Smith founded and served as principal of Steve Smith Consulting, LLC, and became a founding investor and board member of Atlantic Capital Bank – an $850 million community bank based in Buckhead, Georgia. In 2011, Smith was appointed as the deputy superintendent and chief of staff for Atlanta Public Schools, where he has executive control and direct oversight responsibility for all aspects of the day to day operations of the district.

Smith has also served on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Georgia Chamber of Commerce 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, University of Georgia Trustees, University of Georgia Alumni Association, Metro Atlanta Arts & Culture Coalition, Metro Atlanta YMCA, 191 Club and the Atlanta Business League. He has served as a gubernatorial appointment to the Independent Redistricting Task Force, and was a mayoral appointment to the Atlanta Arts & Cultural Funding Task Force.

Steve and his wife, Dr. Debra Smith, lived in Atlanta with their son, Steven, Jr.

Steve Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.250

Sex

Male

Interview Date

12/17/2012

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Schools

Lee County Elementary School

Lee County High School

Lee County Upper Elementary School

Darton State College

University of Georgia

Troy University

University of Georgia Terry College of Business

First Name

Steve

Birth City, State, Country

Albany

HM ID

SMI26

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Los Angeles, California

Favorite Quote

Stay Flexible So You Don't Get Bent Out Of Shape.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/19/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Biscuits

Short Description

Education administrator Steve Smith (1964 - ) was appointed deputy superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools in 2011.

Employment

Fulton County School System

Georgia Public Broadcasting

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Steve Smith Consulting, LLC.

Atlanta Public Schools

Barrow County School System

Lee County Ledger

Albany Herald

WGPC Radio

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641812">Tape: 1 Slating of Steve Smith's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641813">Tape: 1 Steve Smith lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641814">Tape: 1 Steve Smith describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641815">Tape: 1 Steve Smith describes his mother's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641816">Tape: 1 Steve Smith talks about his mother's experiences of racial discrimination in Albany, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641817">Tape: 1 Steve Smith describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641818">Tape: 1 Steve Smith recalls the start of his aspiration to attend college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641819">Tape: 1 Steve Smith describes his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641820">Tape: 2 Steve Smith remembers his mother's honesty about his father's identity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641821">Tape: 2 Steve Smith describes his likeness to his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641822">Tape: 2 Steve Smith describes his stepfamily</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641823">Tape: 2 Steve Smith describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641824">Tape: 2 Steve Smith lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641825">Tape: 2 Steve Smith describes the sights and sounds of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641826">Tape: 2 Steve Smith describes his early interests</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641827">Tape: 2 Steve Smith remembers his athletic role models</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641828">Tape: 2 Steve Smith remembers Lee County Elementary School in Leesburg, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641829">Tape: 2 Steve Smith recalls his influential teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641830">Tape: 2 Steve Smith remembers the New Piney Grove Baptist Church in Leesburg, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641831">Tape: 2 Steve Smith describes his experiences of academic tracking</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641832">Tape: 3 Steve Smith recalls his early work experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641833">Tape: 3 Steve Smith talks about his athletic involvement at Lee County High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641834">Tape: 3 Steve Smith describes his extracurricular activities at Lee County High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641835">Tape: 3 Steve Smith recalls his start at Albany Junior College in Albany, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641836">Tape: 3 Steve Smith describes his decision to attend Albany Junior College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641837">Tape: 3 Steve Smith talks about the racial demographics of the faculty at Lee County High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641838">Tape: 3 Steve Smith describes his community in Lee County, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641839">Tape: 3 Steve Smith recalls his time at Albany Junior College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641840">Tape: 3 Steve Smith describes his early work in the communications industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641841">Tape: 3 Steve Smith recalls his transition to the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641842">Tape: 3 Steve Smith talks about the integration of the University of Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641843">Tape: 4 Steve Smith talks about the development of his racial identity during college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641844">Tape: 4 Steve Smith recalls studying under Michael Lomax</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641845">Tape: 4 Steve Smith remembers his activities at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641846">Tape: 4 Steve Smith recalls the start of his career as an educator</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641847">Tape: 4 Steve Smith remembers meeting his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641848">Tape: 4 Steve Smith talks about his graduate education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641849">Tape: 4 Steve Smith recalls serving as the principal of A. Philip Randolph Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641850">Tape: 4 Steve Smith remembers his transition to Georgia Public Broadcasting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641851">Tape: 4 Steve Smith describes his time at Georgia Public Broadcasting</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641852">Tape: 5 Steve Smith describes his work at the Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641853">Tape: 5 Steve Smith talks about Leadership Atlanta</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641854">Tape: 5 Steve Smith remembers his experiences at Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641855">Tape: 5 Steve Smith talks about his organizational involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641856">Tape: 5 Steve Smith remembers earning his M.B.A. degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641857">Tape: 5 Steve Smith talks about his return to the Atlanta Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641858">Tape: 5 Steve Smith describes the cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public Schools</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641859">Tape: 5 Steve Smith talks about the carbon monoxide leak at Finch Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641860">Tape: 6 Steve Smith describes his professional goals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641861">Tape: 6 Steve Smith describes his advice to aspiring community leaders</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641862">Tape: 6 Steve Smith talks about Steve Smith Consulting, LLC.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641863">Tape: 6 Steve Smith talks about his family and community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641864">Tape: 6 Steve Smith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641865">Tape: 6 Steve Smith reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641866">Tape: 6 Steve Smith reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641867">Tape: 6 Steve Smith describes how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/641868">Tape: 6 Steve Smith narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

11$4

DATitle
Steve Smith remembers the New Piney Grove Baptist Church in Leesburg, Georgia
Steve Smith recalls the start of his career as an educator
Transcript
In your grade school days, now when you were a kid growing up, was, was church very important?$$Oh yes, church was very central to my upbringing. We, we had, you know, we had the, I don't know, I guess you would call it the quintessential small black Baptist church located in the rural South where most of my uncles were the deacons in the church, and you know, out of maybe one hundred people who were members, I, you know, I'd had to say ninety of them were related to me in some way. So we went to that kind of church.$$What was the name of your church?$$New Piney Grove Baptist Church [Leesburg, Georgia].$$New Piney Grove.$$Yeah, the quintessential small church in the country. And grew up and was raised Baptist and you know, religion was very central to my upbringing and remains very central to me in adulthood. But I have very fond memories of growing up and my mother [Lois Smith Rushin] taking us to church and being in church with my uncles and other family members. Yeah, I have very fond memories of growing up and being a part of New Piney Grove Baptist Church.$$Did the church--did the reverend or the other church leaders identify you as a youth as a leader?$$Yes, they did and specifically, specifically my Uncle Buddy, now we sh- his name was Tom Smith. But my Uncle Buddy was the head of the deacon board. And I remember that Uncle Buddy would always call on me to either read scripture or to take up money in the church and or to make announcements. So he and others, in the church, recognized and quite frankly encouraged and helped to, I think, as I reflect on it, I think really empower me to be a leader and to be not only a leader, but I, I got the message from them whether it was direct or indirect, I got the message from them that being smart was okay. They were--they were always proud of me for being smart. And I remember getting that message probably indirectly and they may have meant it directly, but I remember getting that message indirectly from my--from my church family and my, my extended family that being smart was okay, and they were pretty proud of me.$When did you graduate? In--?$$Graduated 1986--$$Okay.$$--and one of the--one of the things that, that led me to a track of administration right away was that I was very fortunate to get a job right out of college [University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia]. And the job that I got right out of college involved teaching high school English part time, and the other half of the day I was at the superintendent's office handling public relations and community relations for a small district right outside of Athens [Georgia], it was Barrow County [Barrow County School System] in Winder, Georgia just about thirty minutes outside of Athens. So I started my career teaching half day English and then the second half I was handling public relations for the small district. And in handling the public relations, I got to work closely alongside the superintendent because in a small district, the superintendent is involved in, you know, essentially every aspect of operations of a small district. So I was involved in working alongside Dr. Hight, who became a friend and a mentor from that job that I started back in 1986.$$Okay, how do you spell the Hight?$$H-I-G-H-T.$$Okay.$$Don Hight. He was quite, quite a little pistol.$$Okay. So you were, so this is the--what school district is this, this is the?$$Barrow County, B-A-R-R-O-W. Barrow County and the county seat is Winder, W-I-N-D-E-R.$$Um-hm, so, Winder, Georgia.$$Um-hm.$$So, I know you went over to the Fulton County school system [Fulton County Schools] at one point and became a principal before you left education--$$Correct.$$--I mean in your early days. So what was going on in Barrow County and how, what was the transition to Fulton?$$To Fulton, yeah. I spent from 1986 until 1991 in Winder in Barrow County, and during that timeframe I was teaching English half time, handling public relations, the other half of my responsibilities, working out of the superintendent's office. And during that timeframe, one of the things that, that became pretty prevalent for me is that I knew I enjoyed being in the community. I enjoyed being--having the flexibility of going to different events and being involved with elected officials. That was my first taste of being involved with the mayor of the city. You know, again in a small town like that, the superintendent is, you know, a bigwig in town. So I got to travel around the small district with him a lot. And as a result, he encouraged me to start, to start a program, if I were going to be in education, he said, "You should go to graduate school and get an educational administration degree." Because if you're gonna be in education you want to be a leader and you should--in order to do that to be an assistant principal and to move to a principalship you gotta have a master's [degree] in educational administration, which is what I--what I subsequently pursued. But that time period, the five years that I spent in Winder were very--it was very--I guess it was an enjoyable time in my life and was a very successful time for me professionally. I got married in 1989, and my wife [Debra Smith] and I worked in Winder for those next two years or three years I guess, before we moved to Atlanta [Georgia]. And I have--