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Don Smith

Executive Director


Donald W. Smith is the Executive Director of North Cedar Academy in Ladysmith, WI, USA.

I attended Troy University, the College of William and Mary, and The Virginia Institute of Marine Science. I hold degrees in Secondary Education (B.S.) and further graduate study in Biology with a specialization in Estuarine Biology.

Over the course of my career, I have served as the Chair of the Western Boarding Schools Association and the Association of Certified Educational Planners. I’ve also chaired The SSAT Annual Meeting Planning Committee. I’ve served on school accreditation teams in Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland, and have presented at the National Associations of Independent Schools Annual Meeting, at national or regional conferences of The Association of Boarding Schools, The Western Boarding Schools Association, The Virginia Association of Independent Schools, the National Camping Association, and The Mid-West Association of Independent Schools. While serving as a Launch Manager for Meritas in China, I was a frequent contributor to such publications as Go Chengdu and the Newsletters of the American and British Chambers of Commerce.

My career in Independent Schools began at Christchurch School, Virginia, where I founded and directed the Christchurch School Marine Sciences Program and Camp from 1981 to 1989.

In the early 1980s, I joined the administration of Christchurch School as the Director of Admission and Marketing and soon after co-founded Enrollment Management Systems, Inc., a software development and consulting firm working with independent schools, colleges, and universities in the US.  EMS soon became the premier independent school enrollment management product serving schools from Cate School, California, to Choate – Rosemary Hall in Connecticut.  Universities including Princeton and the U.S. Air Force Academy were also EMS clients. In 2000, I negotiated the sale of EMS to Blackbaud, Inc.

While I served on the board of EMS, Inc., I continued my work in independent schools and have served as a consultant to over 100 independent schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.

Through my work in admissions at Christchurch, Cranbrook Schools, St. Catherine’s, and Ross, I gained acclaim as one of the nation’s leading External Affairs Professionals. I have been awarded 2 CASE Gold Medals for my work in non-profit marketing and was the 1999 recipient of the Bretnall Award by the Secondary School Admission Test Board, considered to be the highest award made to Enrollment Management professionals in the U.S.

In 2008, I joined Meritas, Inc. to launch the Leman International School in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China.  I returned to the US in 2011, and soon joined the Ross School (New York’s largest boarding school) and served as the Executive Director of Ross until 2016.

While at Ross, I was introduced to NCA Vice President Phil Huang, and in the summer of 2016, I joined North Cedar Academy.

I was appointed Executive Director of North Cedar Academy beginning June of 2017.

My family and I enjoy living on the beautiful lake in Ladysmith and often invite students over to kayak or enjoy a boat ride. My wife Bonny and I have four children who have all enjoyed the benefits of life in global boarding schools.