GVSU CSO Staff Directory

James D. Smith, Ph.D.

Photo of James D. Smith, Ph.D.


School Consultant

Office Phone


Dr. Smith has served as a School Consultant for the GVSU CSO since 2008, primarily working with schools around southeast Michigan. He is responsible for supporting school boards and school leaders and they implement strategies around board development, board governance, school finances, and academic improvement.  Dr. Smith also serves on the advisory board for the Detroit Board Leadership Program, a collaborative initiative between GVSU, Central Michigan University and the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. The program's purpose is to provide charter school board orientation and training to people interested in serving on charter school board in southeast Michigan

Prior to joining the CSO, Dr. Smith worked for IBM for twenty-eight years. When he retired from IBM in 2001 his responsibilities as the Director of Education and Government Consulting included leading a multi-million dollar revenue generating management consulting practice. Highly satisfied clients included K-12 school districs, higher education organizations, and city, county, and state governments operating in 15 states.

Outside of with work with the CSO, Dr. Smith serves as the CEO and Managing Principal of Board Strong LLC, a nonprofit consulting service geared toward nonprofit boards. Dr. Smith also currently sits on the Board of Directors of the 100 Black Men of Great Detroit, and has previous board service with the Detroit Urban League, Lansing Urban League, Great Oaks Charter Academy, and Lansing-area United Way Long-Range Planning Committee. Dr. Smith also serves as a mentor in the Detroit Midnight Golf Progam, where he helps hundreds of high school students develop strategies for sustainable success before, during and after college.

GVSU charter schools working with J.D. in 2019-2020:

  • Eagle's Nest Academy



  • Ph.D. in Urban Education - Michigan State University
  • MBA  - Wichita State University
  • B.A. in Business Administration - Wichita State University

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