Kristen Smith previously served as the Director of Organizing Strategy Louisiana at Leadership for Educational Equity. Smith was a founding member and Co-Chair of South Louisiana Coalition for Education (SLCE) and has served as a policy advisor fellow in the office of policy and governmental affairs at the Louisiana Department of Education, congressional intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in Washington, D.C., and as a national advisory board member with Advance Illinois.
Smith started her career as an Early Head Start educator, an instructor within a model college-in-prison program, and taught English IV, English III Honors, Technical Writing, and Social Studies. She has also published a narrative on black girls in education in the hip-hop-informed social justice anthology, Wish to Live: The Hip-Hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader. Smith holds a B.A. in History, an Ed.M. in Education Policy Studies, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where she was part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship program.
Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in Diversity & Equity in Education (DE) at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.