Joyanna Smith comes to Rocketship from the DC State Board of Education where she was appointed as the Ombudsman for Public Education in February 2014. As the Education Ombudsman, Joyanna helped parents and students resolve school complaints individually and collectively, transforming problems into solutions to promote systemic progress for all DC public school students. Her office impacted the most vulnerable students and families, becoming a national model for Education Ombudsman work and channeling family voice into a vision for change across the District. Working in the education sector for nearly ten years, Joyanna also has experience working as the Director of Finance and Operations at an all-girls public charter school in Ward 8. There, she built out the organizational infrastructure, and implemented systems that improved the school’s finances and operations, enrollment, federal and local compliance, external relations, and board relations. Joyanna has spoken at local and national conferences and her experience has been sought out by federal and local policy making bodies in the areas of family engagement, school discipline, and special education.
The oldest of eight children, Joyanna grew up with a deep appreciation for the importance of education. Joyanna is passionate about advancing educational equity for underserved students, systemic educational reform, and parent advocacy. Joyanna is the mother of a three year old boy who attends Rocketship Legacy Prep.
Joyanna received from an A.B. from Brown University and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School.