Elliot Smalley served as superintendent of the South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD), where he led efforts to dramatically improve student learning and close achievement gaps in the state through the growth of excellent and equitable charter schools. Under Smalley’s leadership, the SCPCSD focused its efforts on four key levers—authorization, accountability, equity and access, and policy—and SCPCSD-sponsored charters are making historic gains. Since 2015, the graduation rate increased more than 23 points–higher than any district in the state—and the percentage of students of color served by SCPCSD charter schools grew from 28 to 40 percent. Student proficiency in math and English language arts has increased for three consecutive years, and, in 2019, 49 percent of SCPCSD schools were rated Excellent or Good—a 13 percentage-point increase over the previous year.

Prior to leading SCPCSD, Smalley was the chief of staff for the Achievement School District (ASD) in Tennessee, where he helped create a new statewide turnaround district with the goal of moving schools from the bottom 5 percent to the top 25 percent in the state. In his three-and-a-half years at ASD, the district opened or converted 29 neighborhood schools serving nearly 10,000 students. During this time, student achievement in Tennessee’s bottom 5 percent Priority schools grew four times faster than it did in non-Priority schools, and students in second- and third-year ASD schools earned Level 5 growth—the highest-possible growth rating in the state.

Before joining the ASD, Elliot was the deputy of strategy and communications for the Charleston County School District, where he developed the Vision 2016 districtwide strategic plan and led communications and outreach efforts during a time in which a 10-year enrollment decline reversed to a five-year increase. He also previously worked as a senior program specialist leading national partnerships and initiatives at the U.S. Department of Education.