Felicia Cumings Smith is a senior program officer of K-12 Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Before transitioning to the foundation, Felicia directed the Kentucky field work for the National Institute for School Leadership and the National Center for Education. Prior to that, as an associate commissioner of education and chief academic officer from 2009 to 2014, she led the work of three branches of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) focused on improving teaching and learning opportunities for all students (preschool through college entry) and increasing teacher effectiveness.
Felicia also served as the executive director of the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development at the University of Kentucky where she led a multi-million-dollar center focused on research and professional development in P-12 literacy education - early childhood through adulthood. Additionally, she was a part of the faculty in the teacher preparation program focused on literacy education. Felicia started her career as an elementary and reading resource teacher in Jefferson County (Kentucky) Public Schools where she helped design and lead curriculum work in literacy and formative assessment benchmarks. Felicia holds an Ed.D. in Instruction and Administration from the University of Kentucky, and a Master of Education, K-12 Reading Specialist, and a Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, from the University of Louisville.