Natalie Smith grew up in Ogden, UT. She attended Weber State University where she served as the Chairman of the Child and Family Studies Student Association. She then attended California State University and graduated with her Bachelors in Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies. She is finishing her Masters in Educational Leadership. Natalie is currently the Blended Education Director for Athenian eAcademy. She is passionate about providing families with educational choice. Natalie has two children and loves to explore and learn.
Why do you want to serve on the UAPCS Board?
I am passionate about ensuring children receive an education that serves their needs. I have a unique perspective from my experience as a parent, teacher, and administrator of Athenian's Blended Education Program. I want to be able to share this perspective and help represent this type of parent/school partnership. Since COVID, this type of program has captured more parents' interest and has become more necessary and needs representation from someone who understands it and I would like to be this person.
What specific skills and knowledge can you bring to the board?
I am experienced in problem solving and participating in constructive and civil debates. I have a knowledge of Robert's Rules of Order. I am familiar with the challenges of balancing state rules and charter school agency. I assisted in leading Athenian out of school turnaround and understand the unique needs of charter schools, especially in rural locations.
Please share your prior governing board experience.
I regularly assist Athenian's board with agenda items. I have also helped conduct the board meeting in the absence of the school's director. I currently am the administrator for the school LAND Trust Council.
Where do you hope to see the Charter School movement in the next five years?
I would like to see agency and trust restored in education. Charter schools were created to provide creative, non-traditional options for education. I believe the charter movement is being pushed away from its original design and I would like to return to the original purpose. I would like charter schools to be able to be innovative while receiving support from state leaders.