Born and raised in St. Louis, Jeff Smith has consistently worked to better his community, with special focuses on improving public education and racial equality.
Since 2000, Jeff has taught political science and public policy at Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Jeff - who teaches courses covering Congress, public policy, race in American politics, the immigrant experience, and election campaigns - received the Washington University Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2002.
Jeff served as KMOV-TV's political analyst during the 2000 and 2002 election cycles, as a political analyst for the BBC, and often serves as a lecturer and panelist at local forums. He has appeared on CBS Evening News and has been featured in several national papers.
Jeff has also advised several Democratic candidates both locally and nationally, serving as deputy political director for Bill Bradley's presidential campaign and as a researcher for Charlotte, North Carolina's first African-American mayor, Harvey Gantt, in his 1996 U.S. Senate campaign against former Senator Jesse Helms.
Improving urban education is Jeff's passion. In spring of 2001, he co-founded The Confluence Academies, a group of acclaimed public charter schools in the City of St. Louis focusing on math, science and technology. Jeff serves on the academy's Board of Directors, heading board committees on community development and public relations. He has also served as a consultant to the Vashon Compact, a non-profit group striving to enhance student achievement at ten of the city's lowest-performing public schools. In his spare time, he teaches ACT prep courses for underprivileged area high school students.
Before that, Jeff worked in the St. Louis Public Schools, helping implement an innovative curriculum to enhance middle school students' mathematics skills. As an evaluator, Jeff visited dozens of the city's schools to track the success of the new curriculum, and also trained district teachers in assessment of student writing.
If urban education is Jeff's passion, then youth sports are his favorite pastime. He was a volunteer basketball coach at Matthews-Dickey Boys Club and has coached basketball camps for the last ten summers at various local high schools, including Christian Brothers College, DeSmet, and Ladue. He has also mentored and tutored several area student-athletes.
Jeff was a co-valedictorian at his high school and a National Merit Scholar at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in African-American Studies and Political Science. He received an M.A. in political science from Washington University and will receive his Ph.D. this fall.