Courtney Smith is a speech language pathologist (SLP) in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). As a school-based SLP, she works collaboratively with other educators to conduct assessments, analyze data, and develop and implement therapy to improve student outcomes. Her experience has been primarily working with elementary aged students in central Los Angeles and preschool-aged students in west Los Angeles, ensuring that students have the articulation, language, voice, and fluency skills to access their academics.
Courtney decided to enroll in LMU's Ed.D. Program to build her leadership skills and expand her knowledge in order to be a better and more effective social justice leader. The School of Education's mission to promote social justice and cultural responsiveness drew her to the Ed.D. Program, which she was confident would provide her with the space to develop leadership skills grounded in equity and justice.
Her research set out to address the disproportionate representation of English learners in special education. This was completed by interviewing speech language pathologists and school psychologists to identify their current practices and explore the individual and systemic challenges present which perpetuate this disproportionality. Courtney continues to be interested in research focused on English learners, special education, and early childhood education.
Courtney’s time in LMU's Ed.D. Program has left her with a collective of peers and colleagues who she knows will continue to challenge and support her on her leadership journey. She has honed and practiced skills which have shaped her into a better educator and leader and she leaves this program grateful for her time.