Preston Smith co-founded Rocketship in 2006. He has held numerous roles at Rocketship, including teacher, principal, Director of Schools, and Chief Achievement Officer. He has led Rocketship’s professional development, leadership development, integrated special education, and student and teacher recruitment. In 2013, he was named CEO. Prior to Rocketship, Preston was founder and Principal of L.U.C.H.A. Elementary School, part of the Alum Rock Unified School District in San Jose, CA. After its first three years of operation, L.U.C.H.A. was the fourth highest performing low-income elementary school in California. Preston began his career in education as a Teach for America Corps (TFA) member at Clyde Arbuckle Elementary School (CA). In 2003, Preston was named “Teacher of the Year” at Arbuckle and was also nominated as one of six finalists for TFA’s Sue Lehmann award, given to TFA corps members with the highest classroom academic gains in the nation. Preston is also an Aspen New Schools Fellow.
Preston is a proud Rocketeer parent of Zeke and Phoenix who attend Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep. He earned his Master in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University and graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Latin American Studies, Phi Beta Kappa.