Placed Leaders

Felicia C. Smith


National Center for Families Learning

Koya | Diversified Search Group partnered with the National Center for Families Learning on the appointment of Felicia C. Smith, Ed.D. as President.

The National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) is a national nonprofit that works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families. Partnering with educators, literacy advocates, and policymakers, NCFL develops and provides programming, professional development, and resources for families.

Smith is the second leader over NCFL’s 32-year history, succeeding its founder, Sharon Darling.

Smith most recently served as the Senior Director of Global Delivery at the National Geographic Society, where she oversaw the domestic and global education strategy implementation and programming focused on transforming the classroom experience for millions of students and educators. She managed a team of regional directors charged with enhancing partnerships with various education entities to inspire the next generation of planetary stewards.

Smith’s career in education spans more than two decades where she has served in a variety of leadership roles in P-12, higher education, nonprofit, and philanthropy. Her career has allowed her to experience leading systems understanding every vantage point of a young person’s educational trajectory from preschool to adulthood. She is driven by her commitment to equity and excellence for every learner. Smith has been a fierce advocate for teacher leadership programs, competency-based education, college and career readiness, policy transformation, and professional learning. Her non-traditional pathway to leadership has helped her maintain a focus on improving learning outcomes by ensuring effective classroom practices spread and scale across systems. She has advocated for transforming teacher preparation and in-service practices in an effort to promote the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for educators to effectively lead in the 21st century. This has been a goal of hers since she entered into the profession.

Prior to joining the National Geographic Society, Smith served as assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning in the 27th largest urban district (Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, KY); as a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; associate commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Education; and teacher leader. She began her career as a classroom teacher in the elementary grades and has taught as a preservice lecturer at the University of Kentucky. Smith has been recognized as an Aspen-Pahara education fellow and serves as a member on several national and local boards.

Smith holds an EdD in Education Leadership and Administration from the University of Kentucky, and an MA in Elementary Education with an emphasis on K-12 Literacy Development. Smith has a BS in Elementary Education from the University of Louisville

We invite you to read the announcement here: Dr. Felicia Cumings Smith named president of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL).