Preston Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Rocketship Education

Preston Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Rocketship Education. He, and partner John Danner, founded Rocketship Education in 2006. Preston Smith became the CEO of the organization in 2013.

Preston Smith is well-educated and has a good history of experience in business and education. His background and experience prepared him for his many roles at Rocketship Education. Smith graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 with a B.A. degree in Latin American studies. He then went on to San Jose State University and earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration in 2006. Smith also graduated with an MBA in 2012 from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. Smith’s work history before becoming the CEO of Rocketship Education include:

Teach for America Corps

  • Teacher for Teach for America Corps at Arbuckle Elementary School from 2001-2004
  •  Design Team Leader for Alum Rock Union School District from 2003-2004
  •  Founding Principal of L.U.C.H.A. Elementary School from 2004-2007
  •  Founding Principal of Rocketship Education’s Mateo Sheedy Elementary School from 2007-2009
  •  Regional Director of Rocketship Education from 2007-2010
  •  Chief Achievement Officer of Rocketship Education from 2009-2012

Rocketship Education is one of the leading charter school systems in the United States. The non-profit organization currently has 21 schools (two which are opening in 2018) in four different states. Rocketship Education’s focus is on bringing quality education to students that live in low-income neighborhoods. They provide tuition-free campuses that have the latest in technology, highly-qualified educators, and a safe and healthy environment for students. Rocketship Education is unique in the fact that they allow a high level of parent involvement in the system’s decision making. Parents’ opinions weigh heavily on the schools’ operations–parents even go as far as interviewing potential new teachers before they are hired. Rocketship Education’s system has been successful during the 12 years that it has been in operation and the organization plans to continue its expansion into other states in the future.

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