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Derek J. Smith

Chief Program Officer

Derek joined Turnaround for Children in 2016 as Chief Program Officer. In this role, he leads the ongoing development and refinement of Turnaround’s programmatic strategy and model, ensuring the organization is equipped with the tools, resources and insights necessary to deliver on its mission.

Derek comes to Turnaround from KIPP NYC where he served as Managing Director of Student Support Services. There he led special education, social work, character development and after-school programs. Before KIPP, Derek was a Network Leader at New Visions for Public Schools, where he managed leadership, instruction and operations support. Derek has also implemented K-12 programs in formative assessment and academic intervention at The Princeton Review and Kaplan, respectively.

Derek holds a B.A. in sociology from Dartmouth College. He is a proud husband, father and mentor and enjoys travel, listening to music and quality time with family and friends.

What three words would you use to describe your work at Turnaround?

As the Chief Program Officer at Turnaround, my work focuses on creating relevant, meaningful and lasting impact in our schools. To that end, the depth and breadth of our research, design and contribution drive my efforts.

What book has influenced you most?

“Awake at Work” by Michael Carroll continues to help me find balance and harmony in my professional life. Work is often as frustrating as it is rewarding, and both are necessary to fully appreciate our many blessings.


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