KATHERINE H. SMITH has served on the BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE ANAHEIM UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT since 1996.
She attended Santa Rosa Junior College, the University of Nevada at Reno, and California State University at Hayward, with a major in elementary education. Mrs. Smith was an elementary teacher at Sherwood Academy; a volunteer in the presidential campaign of Sen. Barry Goldwater; volunteer in the grass-roots movement for Gov. Ronald Reagan; docent at The Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Birthplace; a substitute teacher for the Magnolia (Elementary) School District; the owner and operator of an interior decorating business, with clients such as The Brown Derbys in Hollywood and Beverly Hills; lecturer for a master’s course at USC’s Delinquency Control Institute (DCI) for international police officers on innovative ideas to reduce crime; lecturer on the topic at Chapman University, Long Beach State University, and Fullerton College; a member of the Parents’ Board at Servite High School; vice president of the substance and alcohol abuse committee at Servite; and real estate owner and manager for 49 years.
Mrs. Smith also founded GRASP (Group Resolving Anti-Social Problems), a nonprofit corporation, introduced at the Nixon Presidential Library and dedicated to finding and implementing solutions to gang-related problems. GRASP has promoted the implementation of school uniforms state and nationwide. She was one of eight national recipients selected from among 1,200 nominees for the George Washington Honor Medal, bestowed by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge in 1994. She was also the originator and co-founder of the National Coalition for Drug Policy Change, founded in 1993 at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Her effort stems from her belief that it is necessary to change the focus of the drug war. She is opposed to the criminal justice model, which has unjustly imprisoned African- Americans and Latinos and has broken our society. Instead, she believes in decriminalization, with medical intervention to combat the problem. The coalition was successful in gaining the inclusion of the Hoover Resolution in the 1994 Federal Crime Bill. Among the original signers of the resolution were noted economist Dr. Milton Friedman and former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz.
While serving on the Board of Trustees of the Anaheim Union High School District, Mrs. Smith served for 14 years as a Board Member of the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program (NOCROP). During her tenure there, she ensured public funds were used appropriately and helped negotiate a deal between AUHSD and ROP to create single-family homes from the dilapidated, deplorable, and unsafe NOCROP district office compound. This allowed the capability to purchase a new, safe, and contemporary NOCROP district office. In addition, she continued being a leader in workforce development and career occupation education by being an original founding Board Member of the Culinary Arts Institute.
A California leader in education, Mrs. Smith turned to statewide politics in 2002, when her ballot statement pulled her through the primary to launch a campaign for California Superintendent of Public Education, based on her accomplishments.
In her 23 years on the school board, Mrs. Smith is proud of the many positive innovations she has championed, including: a daily Moment of Silence and Inspirational Quote; classroom postings of The Golden Rule; academic attire for students and professional attire for teachers; a five-minute cleanup bell to teach respect for public and private property; clean restrooms; establishment of the Character Counts program; championing career technical education (CTE); and successfully placing cardiac defibrillators in all schools.
Her greatest achievement as the creator and innovator of Oxford Academy will live on for generations of students across the district. Oxford Academy, since its founding, has ranked number one in Orange County and within the top rankings nationally. Oxford Academy is noted for its high standards, outstanding parental engagement, and academic attire.
Mrs. Smith is also the driving force behind http://mamasheartsunited.com/, a website with resources designed to assist the community of mothers Worldwide who suspect their children are being recruited to join ISIS. The website includes tips to assist mothers in identifying and combating this activity and obtaining law enforcement assistance. Pope Francis has recognized this effort through the intersession of Orange County Bishop Kevin W. Vann at the Christ Cathedral, formerly the Crystal Cathedral, in Garden Grove. Mrs. Smith is a believer in the philosophy put forward by anthropologist Margaret Mead, that “one should never doubt that a small group of committed citizens CAN change the world.” Her hope is to gather this group at The Vatican, and with the support of the Pope, that this will come to fruition.
A 55-year Anaheim resident, Mrs. Smith has been married since 1963 to S. Clarke Smith, M.D. They have two sons who are USC and Chapman University graduates and four grandchildren.