About Allen

I want to help give our children the schools they deserve.

Allen Smith on the Issues - About Allen

Proud Father

Of all the jobs I’ve had in life, I have never found a more fulfilling mixture of challenges, responsibilities, and enjoyment than the experience of being a parent. I am fortunate to share that experience with an extraordinary woman named Becky, whose heart, wit, and altruism are rivaled only by the pluck and sparkle of our brilliant daughters. Becky and I share a commitment to put children first, and we rely on that principle as a compass to guide the decisions we make and the lives we lead.

As a dad, I know how it feels to worry every day about the state of the world and to wonder if we’re setting kids up to create the future they want for themselves. I understand the conflicting emotions of a parent who wants to keep their children safe while simultaneously raising them to be bold and independent. I also know all too well the anxiety of having to choose between being present for your child and working to provide for them.

Former Teacher

Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to teach in a variety of classrooms, but my love of teaching began the day I came to North Carolina to begin a new chapter in my life as an instructor for Duke University’s Talent Identification Program. I spent summers helping some of the nation’s brightest kids cultivate their hidden talents and satisfy their thirst for knowledge; and I learned that teaching is far more than instruction. It’s a complex amalgam of things like empathy, encouragement, expertise, and relevance, stitched together with pop-culture knowledge, groan-worthy puns, and often a bit of sorcery for good measure. And that’s on a good day.

I know what it’s like to be at the bottom of a long, bureaucratic chain of command, executing policies that make little sense in practice. I’ve triple-checked my budget to make sure I could cover the missing supplies my class needed for their group project. I have also grappled with the paralyzing uncertainty of not knowing whether or not I’d be invited back for another year.

Rational Idealist

Those who know me well know I make no apologies for having a progressive stance on issues. I champion things like equality, inclusion, and social responsibility — both in education and throughout society as a whole. My principles guide me as I advocate for causes, but I welcome discourse and celebrate the reality that we all see the world through slightly different lenses. I believe we can find common ground on issues where we disagree by relying on empirical evidence as an objective source of truth.

An idealist at heart, I believe we all have limitless potential for doing good and an innate desire to help one another. But I’m also a pragmatist; and I understand that principles and beliefs, however noble they may be, only set the heading. Real progress requires compromise, cooperation, and meaningful action.

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