Episode 27: Tony Smith, Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District


I sat down with Tony Smith, Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District at the School’s Out Washington Bridge Conference in Seattle, WA on October 9, 2012. Before we talked, Dr. Smith copresented a keynote for the conference with Jakada Imani, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (and past Please Speak Freely guest). The two of them discussed the inequities in our public systems, the important role of youth as change-makers, and the need to engage in critical dialogue across systems. Dr. Smith had so many great things to say in that presentation that I used much of it for this episode. This allowed me to talk with him about his own path–how he came to approach the work as he does, and his own experience in public education.

Many thanks to School’s Out Washington for sponsoring this episode!

Posted in podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please Speak Freely

On Please Speak Freely, Eric Gurna, founder of Development Without Limits interviews leading thinkers, artists and others to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives about youth development and education. The idea is to get past the platitudes and institutional positions, and have honest, nuanced conversations about things that really matter to young people and communities. Please Speak Freely guests include:

  • Raffi, Children’s Troubadour and Founder of the Centre for Child Honouring
  • Alfie Kohn, Author of several books including Punished By Rewards and The Schools Our Children Deserve
  • Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at New York University
  • Karen Pittman, President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Tony Smith, Former Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District
  • Lenore Skenazy, “America’s Worst Mom” and Author of Free-Range Kids

Interested in Sponsoring a Podcast?