Kimberly A. White-Smith, Ed.D.
Dean and Professor, School of Leadership and Education Sciences 
University of San Diego   

-University of Southern California – Ed.D.
-Columbia University – MA
-University of California, Berkeley – BA 

Kimberly A. White-Smith, Ed.D., the dean of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) at the University of San Diego (USD), is renowned for her extensive experience in the education sector. With over 25 years devoted to championing educator preparation, her distinguished career is a testament to her leadership in academic settings and her significant contributions to nonprofit organizations. 

White-Smith’s dedication to academic justice for marginalized groups, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Queer, and neurodivergent students, is evident in her approach to enhancing educational environments, policies, and practices; a commitment that extends beyond academia and is on display in her work with nonprofits, where she has been instrumental in developing leadership and promoting social entrepreneurship. 

SOLES continues to thrive under White-Smith’s leadership, which has resulted in successfully securing substantial funding for research and community-centric projects. Thanks to her guidance, several initiatives have benefited from and materialized through her strategic direction, such as the early childhood program development and the Black InGenius Initiative (BiGI). White-Smith also played a pivotal role in establishing SOLES as the lead agency for the Community Engagement Initiative (CEI) 2.0. 

Her roots as a former public school teacher in south Los Angeles profoundly influenced her approach to education and academic justice. White-Smith’s work with civil rights activist Bob Moses and engagement in various university-community partnerships underscore her commitment to accessible, quality education for all. 

A respected figure in nonprofit management, White-Smith possesses considerable expertise in board development and understands the nuances of guiding nonprofit organizations, cultivating leadership capabilities, and fostering a culture of social entrepreneurship. Her insights into organizational governance have recognized her as a sought-after advisor for board development and strategic planning in the nonprofit sector. 

As an accomplished academic and writer, White-Smith has authored several influential publications on diversity, inclusivity, leadership, and the experiences of Black Mother Scholars. Her numerous roles in key educational organizations complement her scholarly contributions, as she serves as president of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE), commissioner for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), and vice president of the California Council on Teacher Education (CCTE). 

White-Smith was honored as the 2024 recipient of the AACTE Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education, recognizing her profound impact on the field of education. She was also named one of the Black Leaders of Influence Top 50 Honorees in 2023. White-Smith continues to be a driving force in the education and nonprofit sectors, shaping the future of teacher education, board development, and social entrepreneurship.