We are honored to recognize Dr. Brad Smith at LEAD's Mardi Gras Masquerade.

Dr. Brad Smith was raised in a small town (one stoplight) in rural central New York state. He spent much of his free time outdoors and became an avid camper. He camped for fun throughout high school and college. After graduating from Hamilton College in 1983, he became a professional leader of outdoor programs for troubled youth before starting his graduate studies in 1986.  

After earning his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, he moved east and spent two decades developing after school programs and summer day camps. The first of these was at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where he developed an innovative summer camp for adolescents with ADHD.  In 1998, he joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina. He provided after school programs to more than 400 students at no cost to their school or families. With the help of 100 University of South Carolina service-learning students and funding from 21st Century Community Learning Center Grants, these programs created a safe and enriching space for youth three hours a day, five days a week. These initiatives won the 2009 South Carolina Education Commission Literacy Champions Award and the 2009 National After School Alliance Innovator Award.  

In 2013, Dr. Smith moved to Houston to become the Director of School Psychology Ph.D. Program at the University of Houston - the second in the institution’s history. He was introduced to LEAD in 2017, and the UH-LEAD partnership was established. Over the next four years, generous funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation resulted in developing logic models, creating program evaluation tools, and conducting research that established LEAD as an evidence-based program. Dr. Smith and his growing network of colleagues and students continue to support LEAD. They published research regarding LEAD’s summer experiences at Teton Science Schools, and additional papers are in preparation. The research team presents LEAD’s impact at state and national conferences and brings further understanding to academic and professional circles.

Dr. Smith enjoys working with the LEAD Team and getting to know student LEADers. Some of his  favorite memories with LEAD took place at the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming. He is a strong proponent for scaling LEAD’s summer camps and continues to be a faithful advocate for its transformational youth development program.

Join LEAD in celebrating our accomplishments and recognizing Dr. Brad Smith at our Mardi Gras Masquerade.