In Memoriam: Carol E. Smith

Carol Smith, 1949–2016

Carol E. Smith, longtime AACTE staffer who deftly guided the Association through the early standards movement and years of accreditation reforms, died June 6 in Falls Church, Virginia. She was 66.

A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, Smith gave 23 years of devoted service to AACTE. After an early career in the banking and legal fields, she joined the AACTE staff as an administrative assistant in 1985 and worked up to senior leadership as vice president for professional issues before leaving in 2008.

Her portfolio of responsibilities was vast, including orchestrating the Association’s liaison with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, contributing to the design of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, and convening the Task Force on Teacher Education as a Moral Community, among others.

Her meticulous attention to alliance-building brought remarkable progress to the causes she championed, supported by consensus from diverse stakeholders. There was no more diligent and passionate advocate for quality educator preparation and for the members of AACTE.

Smith’s monumental work ethic and integrity benefited not only the projects she undertook but also the people she led to accomplish so much. Her passion, diligence, and modesty carried over to the ongoing work of her former colleagues, many of whom now serve as leaders in other national education organizations.

“Few people have had as much influence on teacher education today as Carol Smith has had,” said AACTE President/CEO Emeritus David G. Imig. “She was highly respected by generations of AACTE and NCATE leaders who depended upon her wisdom and strategic guidance. Her legacy lives on in the debates about dispositions and ethical practices and high standards and in the efforts of staff members of the most prominent associations.”

“Every now and then you run into a person who is refreshingly different from everyone else and that was Carol—a serene private presence who enriched the occasion,” said Frank Murray, H. Rodney Sharp Professor Emeritus and Quondam Dean at the University of Delaware, who collaborated with Smith over the span of her career on projects ranging from publications on the professional knowledge base to standards and accreditation work. “She made a big difference to AACTE and her colleagues.”

Services will be held in Falls Church, Virginia, on Saturday, June 11, at 3:00 p.m. For details, see this web page.

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Sharon Robinson

President and CEO, AACTE