Kate Smith

2020-21 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Kate Smith was appointed interim president of Rio Salado College in Arizona in August 2018. With more than 25 years of experience in higher education, she is known for her enthusiasm, energy, and collaborative leadership style. She is inspired by the community college mission to change lives through affordable, flexible access to education. Prior to her appointment, President Smith served as Rio’s vice president of academic affairs, providing leadership in adult education; early college and academic programs; community, corporate and government partnerships; online and hybrid/blended learning; incarcerated reentry programs; institutional research and effectiveness; and military programs.

Previously, President Smith was dean of the academic foundations division at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. She began her career at Monroe as a mathematics instructor, was promoted to full professor, and then served in administration. As dean, her responsibilities included developmental education, college success courses, English for speakers of other languages, dual enrollment, writing and learning centers, and grant-funded programs. She’s presented nationally on topics ranging from active learning strategies to leading change through collaborative practice and has served on multiple boards across the country. She has also served as a mathematical education consultant and taught high school mathematics.

She has a master’s degree in mathematical education from the University of Rochester and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and German from William Smith College. President Smith is passionate about learning, giving back, mathematics, and supporting friends and family. She and her husband live in Arizona and enjoy running and hiking Arizona trails.