Ralph Smith is the managing director of the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, an effort to increase rates of third grade reading proficiency for children from low-income families that includes a network of more than 360 communities, representing 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Canada—with 3,900 local organizations and 450 state and local funders (including 185 United Ways). Previously, Smith taught Corporations and Securities Law and Education Law and Policy as a member of the Law Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for two decades, during which time he also served as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer for the School District of Philadelphia and as senior advisor to Philadelphia's mayor on children and family policy. Smith led efforts to design and implement the school district's landmark voluntary desegregation plan, negotiate some of the nation's first education reform-driven teacher contracts, and develop Children Achieving, a district-wide blueprint supported by the Annenberg Challenge. Smith is the founding director of both the National Center on Fathers and Families and the Philadelphia Children's Network, and a national leader of the Responsible Fatherhood movement.


See who is taking part in Planet Word's efforts to showcase language and inspire a love of words.