Andrea John-Smith is the Executive Director of Sound Discipline. She supports the entire staff and leads a team of three dedicated directors. Her primary role is to foster alignment between the organization’s vision and values with results and day to day practice. Her specific accountabilities include strategy, planning, equity and inclusion, resource development, communications, partnership development, and organizational culture.
Andrea came to Sound Discipline after more than 2 decades of nonprofit strategy development, leadership, and fundraising work with social change organizations spanning an array of sectors. These include Fuse Washington, Rainier Valley Corps, Agros International, Friends of the Children, MENTOR Washington, Team Read, One by One, Open Arms, SHAG, Northwest Healthcare Response Network, Northaven Retirement, and many others. In addition to nonprofit consulting, Andrea served as a lecturer at the University of Washington, where she taught a philanthropy course.
As a long time Board Member of Advancement Northwest, Andrea chaired the Major Gifts Symposium, the Strategic Forum on Fundraising, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access Committee, and developed the association’s first Diversity Strategic Plan.
Her deepest passion is education equity. Most recently, Andrea worked with School Based Health Alliance (SBHA) to develop a strategy for school-based behavioral health practitioners and advocates to advance restorative, harm-reduction, and student-led response to addiction in schools and communities. As a volunteer, she worked with school leaders and teachers on equity and inclusion issues, including Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ Education Action Agenda for Southeast Seattle.
Andrea grew up in Los Angeles, the fourth in a family of five kids, and graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in humanities focusing on African American women’s literature and music. After college, she pursued a career as a jazz vocalist in San Francisco, where she met and married her husband, Darryl Smith, at that time a stage actor and drummer, now a nonprofit executive director. The whole family shares a love of jazz. When not on Zoom calls, she can be found teaching her rescue dog to be a good boy, baking, learning about wine, and dreaming of travel.
What is one of your proudest moments?
Watching our daughter Sofia graduate with honors from Williams College.
What is something people are surprised to learn about you?
I practice Zen.
What drew you to Sound Discipline?
The first time I visited a Sound Discipline Demonstration School, I got to observe a 3rd grade class meeting — one little boy sitting in a circle, sharing about being picked on by other kids on the playground. In hushed but solemn voices, his classmates offered up solutions as the teacher wrote them down. After looking over the list, the boy decided which solution would be most helpful for him to try. When the class meeting ended, he got up from the circle and made his way to his desk with a big smile on his face. Seeing that re-organized my molecules. I got hooked.