Tony Smith

CEO and co-founder of Whyspeople

Tony Smith is the CEO and co-founder of Whyspeople, providing strategic advising and executive coaching to leaders working to create thriving communities. Most recently Tony served as the Illinois State Superintendent of Education. Prior to serving in that role he was the Executive Director of the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation funding early childhood, youth development, and education.


Tony has served in leadership roles in the non-profit, higher education, and public pk-12 district sectors including as Superintendent in Emeryville and Oakland, Ca. He earned a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from UC Berkeley.


Tony is committed to creating healthy public systems that fully develop the whole child, whole school, and whole community. He measures his work by the increase in fair access to quality, the increase in student and adult belongingness, and the increase in equitable student outcomes that improve economic and civic well-being in the community.

9:15AM - 10:15AM

Friday, April 16th

Q&A with Tony Smith

Tony Smith, the former Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District, will share his journey of working with the School Board to create the Office of African American Male Achievement, the first-ever of its kind within a school district in America.