Mrs. Ann A. Smith is visionary leader, compassionate advocate, retired educator, accomplished coach and lifelong education champion advancing the educational attainment and economic future of under-represented men, women, boys and girls across the state of Louisiana.
Mrs. Smith was elected by her colleagues in November 2016 to serve as Chairperson of SUS. She was re-appointed to the Southern University Board of Supervisors in December 2016 by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. She is also a member of First Guaranty Bank Board of Directors.
Completing her second term as Chairperson of the Board, Mrs. Smith has championed a cultural shift across the Jaguar Nation. Her tenure has called on administrators, faculty and staff to advance a student first philosophy and reimagine what is possible for the students served by Southern’s five campuses. Bringing to bear previous senior executive and board-level experience, she and her colleagues on the Board have focused strategically on policy development and priority setting that has held the administration to a model of data-driven decision making. Committed to staff recognition, she created the Above and Beyond Award for system employees.
She has required the leaders of Southern to provide our students the best education available without excuse – starting with the Board its self. Chairman Smith has been an active participant in the National Association of Governing Boards, spent countless hours attending events, meeting with stakeholders and recruiting students trying to give the current and anticipated students a supremely Southern experience second to none. Under her leadership with the vigorous support from her Board colleagues, Southern has: recruited nationally accomplished administrators, continued streamlining operations for efficacy, re-engaged SU in state and national higher education circles, commenced revising the curriculum to address contemporary workforce needs, secured major financial gifts and made significant infrastructure improvements. Putting her money where her mouth is, Mrs. Smith and her family provided the leadership funding for the “Smith/Imes Scholarship, the Ann Smith Scholar Award, and the President’s Shining Star Award for her area high schools to promote education.
A retired educator, Mrs. Smith enjoyed a distinguished career as Principal, Teacher and Coach at: Kentwood High School, Ponchatoula High School and Clinton High School, as well as Clinton Elementary School. She was also a winning coach who led her basketball teams to the girls’ Louisiana State Championship, two years as runner-up and one year as state semifinalist. Honored by her peers, Coach Smith also earned “Coach of the Year Awards” for 10 of 13 seasons.
A testimony to her wisdom, grit and personality, Mrs. Smith is an experienced and widely respected civic leader. She served as a member of the: North Oak Foundation Board, Life Member of the Southern University Alumni Federation, Silver Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a life member of the African American Heritage Museum. As an active member of Oak Grove AME Church, she serves on the Steward Board. She has previously served the community as: Vice Chair of the Louisiana Governor’s K-12 Transition Team, President of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, Chairman of LOSFA, Chairman of the Louisiana High School Executive Committee (District VI), President of the Kentwood Rotary Club, Vice President of the Advisory Council to the Louisiana State Board of Education, and President of the Tangipahoa Parish Supervisors & Principals Association. She is a past member of the governing boards of: Lallie Kemp Foundation, Tangipahoa Parish Visitors and Convention Bureau, Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Association and LHSAA.
Mrs. Smith earned her Master’s +30 hours above from Southern University and Southeastern Louisiana University and Bachelor degree from Southern University and A & M College. She graduated with honors and sixth (6th) in her class from Dillon High School where she was: Captain of the basketball team, Head Majorette, Drum Major and President of New Homemakers of America.
Born to the late Dan and Roseanne Alexander, Mrs. Ann A. Smith is the wife of Harold J. Smith and proud parent of Joi Smith and Steven J. Smith (and his wife Margaret). The Smiths are the doting grandparents of Jasmine and Hannah Smith.