Executive Vice President, Concordance Academy
Jeff Smith is executive vice president of Concordance Academy, a new non-profit focused on helping formerly incarcerated people successfully transition into the community. Previously, Jeff was a professor of urban policy at The New School’s Milano Graduate School, where he researched and taught urban political economy, policy analysis, campaign management, legislative strategy, and incarceration.
From 2006-2009, Jeff represented St. Louis City in the Missouri Senate, and narrowly lost a 2004 race for U.S. Congress; his youth-powered grassroots campaign was chronicled in the documentary Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, which was short-listed for an Academy Award.
Jeff has written three books: Trading Places, on U.S. partisan realignment; Mr. Smith Goes to Prison, a prison memoir and argument for reform; and Ferguson in Black and White, an historical analysis of the town’s unrest. He has published articles in various academic journals, chapters in five edited volumes, and op-eds for the New York Times, Politico Magazine, CNN.com, New York Magazine, Inc., Salon, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and the Chicago Tribune. Jeff, whose TED talk on prison entrepreneurship has garnered over a million views, serves on the national boards of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and American Prison Data Systems. He earned a B.A. in African-American Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Washington University.