Dottie Smith


Dottie Smith started her career teaching elementary school in Compton, California where she quickly grew a love for her students, community, and teaching literacy. From there, she became a Program Director with TFA – Los Angeles where she coached the region’s secondary teachers. This experience deepened her appreciation for adult learning and development and led to work designing coaching models and managing instructional programming for the region. After several years with TFA, Dottie decided to return to schools where she became an Assistant Principal at a bilingual school in Downtown LA and eventually a High School Principal in Las Vegas. With the hard work of her teachers, students and community, the HS went from ‘watch’ to ‘high-performing’ in just two years.

Dottie transitioned to TNTP where she focused on expanding the reach and quality of teacher preparation and development programs. She led efforts to bring TNTP’s support to several new states and regions. After a move to Dallas for her husband’s work, Dottie was asked to lead the Best In Class Coalition, an initiative supported by the Commit Partnership focusing on ensuring all students in Dallas County are taught by an excellent teacher. Within a year, Dottie was asked to step into the role of President of the Commit Partnership to help lead the organization’s growth and strategy while building a place where all staff could thrive. 

Now at Transcend, Dottie is working to create the conditions across the state of Texas for innovation and equitable learning experiences to flourish. She lives in Dallas with her husband and two children, Ashby (6) and Lucas (1).


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Transcend is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates nationally.