For over seven years, the Commit Partnership has been dedicated to the success of every student in North Texas, especially students of color and students in poverty. What started with a primary focus on transparently providing data to partners and improving access to high quality early childhood education has grown to include coalitions focused on teacher effectiveness as well as college access and completion. Along the way, the Commit staff, who wake up every day focused on supporting our partners, has grown to nearly 50 people and is increasingly engaged in statewide policy and alignment of similar organizations across the state.
Late last year, CEO and Chairman Todd Williams announced the creation of the new role of President to provide added, senior-level leadership capacity for the organization, helping to strengthen Commit’s focus and impact on students for many more years to come. It was clear from the beginning that this position would require not only educational and managerial experience, but also a deep connection to the core values of the Partnership.
“We hired a national leader, Promise 54, to perform the search for this new President’s role within Commit, and I am pleased to inform our partners that we’ve made the decision to internally promote Dottie Smith, who currently leads our Best In Class effective educator effort, to the role of President effective April 1st,” explained Williams.
Dottie Smith, like the organization she’s been chosen to lead, is deeply committed to and motivated by educational equity. Her journey as an educator began in a 2nd grade classroom in Compton, California, dutifully ensuring each student could read Charlotte’s Web by the end of the year. She built an intervention model for a bilingual school in Los Angeles to ensure all students who needed extra help were identified and supported. She served as an assistant principal, then principal, and later led teacher preparation and development at The New Teacher Project.
Smith is an expert in creating continuous improvement cycles across systems, most recently as Managing Director of the Best In Class coalition, which has helped to implement turnaround models ensuring nearly 30,000 students no longer attend a chronically challenged school. She has already begun to bring that same spirit of growth to the organization by collaborating with staff on a decision-making matrix that further promotes equity and inclusion. The Commit Partnership is grateful to learn from her, and now, even more grateful to her for taking on much larger leadership role.
“We’ve made a promise to every student of an exceptional education. A promise that we need to keep, especially to students who carry the burdens of poverty to school everyday. I believe it’s possible to see a day when it’s not just the expectation but the norm for every student in DFW, regardless of their background or zip code, to graduate high school with multiple pathways in front of them, including college and a meaningful career. We have brilliant and inspiring students, dedicated educators, strong neighborhoods and communities, committed business and non-profit leaders, and a generous philanthropic community eager to work together to ensure our educational system lives up to its promise. I am honored and humbled to work alongside our talented team members at Commit, our district, program and non-profit partners and our funding community to help make our promise to students come to life: an excellent and equitable education that prepares them to flourish in life given the path of their choice,” explained Smith.
Williams concluded, “The success of our growing Partnership is incredibly dependent on the trust we’ve created with our partners and the talent imbedded with the Partnership’s backbone team. Dottie brings a deep commitment to the potential of every child in our community and tremendous skill sets to the role of President. We’re thrilled she has taken this role on and we look forward to seeing where her increased leadership role will help take us.”