Arizona Our Team Our Team Habib Bangura Keith Smith Angie Thomas Habib Bangura An immigrant from Sierra Leone, Habib has first-hand experience with the challenges confronting many students of color. Due to Habib’s recent immigrant status, his 9th Grade Counselor assumed the “Gifted” recommendation on his 8th-grade transcripts were a clerical error and placed him in the Learning Disabled track. It took several months for the school to admit its “mistake,” leaving Habib hurt and disengaged and resulting in a 1.7 GPA in his first two years of high school. Through his mother’s determination and dedicated support and advocacy of a committed teacher, Habib rediscovered his academic joy. He went on to earn degrees from George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard Graduate School of Education and dedicate his career to providing all students and particularly students of color with access to responsive, equitable school systems that recognize and tap their potential. Prior to joining Stand for Children, Habib led the implementation of a school turnaround effort that improved 4-year graduation rates by 18% and reduced chronic absenteeism by 22% at one of New York City’s most challenged public high schools. With Stand, Habib has helped expand the Stand-CHSS 9th Grade Success Network to more than 100 high schools serving forty thousand 9th graders in 50 school districts across four states. Habib launched and directs Stand-CHSS’ 9th Grade Success partnership in Memphis, Tennessee, where our thirteen partner high schools achieved an 18 percentage point average gain in 9th Grade On-Track rates in the 2018-2019 school year, their first year of implementation. Keith Smith Born in Flint, Michigan, Keith Smith is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (BA, Economics) and also had an exceptional career as a basketball star at LMU. Keith Smith was a three time All Conference point guard that received All American status during his playing days. He averaged 17.8 points and 6.4 assist as a sophomore, 25.1 points and 5.6 assist as a junior, and 21 points and 7.0 assist as a senior. After his stellar colligate career Keith was drafted By the Milwaukee Bucks and played during the 1986-87 season. During his playing days Keith had the opportunity to play for three legendary coaches, Don Nelson, Paul Westhead, and George Karl. In 2001 Mr. Smith was inducted into the LMU Athletic Hall of Fame. Keith’s career was cut short by injuries and he moved into the private sector, co-founding a Cellular Phone Company in Los Angeles. After three years in the private sector Mr. Smith transitioned to education and became the Athletic Director at Valley High School from 1995-1999. Mr. Smith and his family moved to Seattle, WA in 1999 and he started his now 20-year career in the Seattle School District. Mr. Smith now serves as the Principal at Rainier Beach High School. Rainier Beach High School has a long tradition as a powerhouse basketball program with distinguished alumni that includes Jamal Crawford, Doug Christie, Nate Robinson, Dejounte Murray, and many others. Rainier Beach is also an International Baccalaureate School that has won the Distinguished School honor the past two years under Mr. Smith’s leadership. Prior to his current role, Mr. Smith served as the Principal at South Lake Alternative High School and the Assistant Principal at Franklin High School for nine years. During that time, he supervised the math department, athletics and special education. He also oversaw the ninth-grade city levy investment as well as the intervention and prevention case management team. During his tenure in the Seattle School District Mr. Smith also served as a House Administrator at Meany Middle School, a teacher at John Marshall Alternative High School and a Site Coordinator for the Interagency Academy. Mr. Smith earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Loyola Marymount University, and a Master’s in Education and his Principal Certification from Heritage University as well as his Professional Administrator’s Certification from City Year University. Mr. Smith is passionate about strengthening the bonds between school, families, and community with student success as the focus. He has strong beliefs in growing teacher capacity through collaboration and coaching. And he brings extensive experience in building systems and supports for students and staff. Mr. Smith believes in high quality instruction, collaboration and positive relationships as the foundation for building a strong educational community. In his words, “education gives our youth the opportunity and access to successful futures.” Mr. Smith is committed to being a change agent for youth. He wants the youth of America to continue to excel while being productive citizens with a focus on social Justice and innovation. Mr. Smith is the father of two fantastic sons. His 22-year-old son Keith Smith is in his Senior year as a student athlete at Pepperdine University. His youngest son Stephen Smith is a Freshman student athlete at College of Southern Idaho. Mr. Smith states his greatest accomplishment in life is being the proud father of both Keith and Stephen. Mr. Smith’s passion for academics continues to drive his efforts to make a difference for the youth that he serves. Angie Thomas “My mission in life is to save lives through action, advocacy, empowerment & support. My servant-leadership, career successes and credibility are all rooted in my passion for school change initiatives that focus on supporting historically marginalized and underserved communities. I am an unyielding advocate for historically marginalized and underserved communities, and you can depend on me to be professionally, socially, and politically active in fighting for their success... for their rights to THRIVE.” -Angie L. Thomas July 2021 Texas Born, Seattle raised, Angie Thomas has dedicated her life to serving at-risk youth and their families. Guided by the principals of empowerment, equity, love, and justice, Ms. Thomas has successfully helped turn three high schools around in both Seattle, WA; and Detroit, Michigan. Education is a life mission (a calling) for Ms. Thomas. She eagerly goes where she is needed most. Through her work with ninth grade transition, she successfully led a team to improve ninth-grade on-time promotion rates from less than 50% to exceeding the district at 94%! She has a proven track record, expertise, and a passion for both the people and this work. A colleague wrote of her, “ Ms. Thomas is what I would call a servant leader. She is selfless in her leadership and models it consistently. It is refreshing to work with an individual like her that chooses to exemplify humility in leadership versus dictatorship. Secondly, she is incredibly solution oriented. Each time we implement our summer credit retrieval programs, we were limited in staffing and resources. Rather than making excuses, Ms. Thomas always cultivated results. Her ability to work through obstacles is profound, while still keeping an empathetic and affectionate touch with students and staff. She is professional, personable, and reliable. It is easy to team up with Ms. Thomas because you know that in the end, you are going to grow and win.” Ms. Thomas offers STAND twenty-three years of experience with over seven years as an Assistant Principal, 17 years in high schools, six years as a Dean of Students, and several years as the Lead Principal Administrator for multiple summer school and extended day programs. She has lead credit retrieval programs at both the school and district level. She is best known for her ability to accomplish program goals and effective professional development. Ms. Thomas believes that education is key to augmenting the trajectory of one’s social, political, and economic status for generations. Ms. Thomas loves to learn and empower others to reach their goals and potential. Ms. Thomas possesses a master’s degree in Education & Educational Leadership, a teaching certificate, and principal certification. Angie Thomas is a mother and grandmother. She has three adorable grandchildren whom she spoils and supports on a regular basis. She started her career after learning her son was struggling academically. In 1995 Ms. Thomas took a year off to home school her son. In that year, her son improved two grade levels. Frustrated with the school system she developed a relentless tenacity to make positive changes to it. As a result, she has impacted thousands of lives! She is a true change agent, and asset to the Stand organization.