Press Release | Washington, DC | March 1, 2023

National Trust for Historic Preservation Announces John Warner Smith as Executive Director of Shadows-on-the-Teche

The National Trust is thrilled to announce that John Warner Smith has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Shadows-on-the-Teche Trust Stewardship Site.

John is a seasoned executive who has worked in the non-profit, government, art & culture, and banking sectors. He is a strong advocate for public education. After serving as Louisiana's Secretary of Labor, he became the founding chief executive officer of Education’s Next Horizon, a statewide non-profit organization that focused on framing the debate for comprehensive, system-wide PreK-12 education reform and connecting education, business, and community leaders as a force supporting school improvement.

Most recently, John has served as the Education Policy Director for the Urban League Louisiana. In this role he was responsible for leading the Urban League’s statewide education equity initiative, including planning and facilitating equity research and engaging community partners to advance equity in large school districts of Louisiana.

John was also the State Poet Laureate of Louisiana from 2019-2021. He is the first African American male to serve in this position. In this role, he served as the state’s ambassador to encourage residents to explore and engage with poetry. In November 2019, Smith memorialized a violent racial incident in the state's history by appearing at a historical symposium and debuting a new poem about the events. The poem was read at a public program sponsored by the Iberia African American Historical Society.

John Warner Smith is no stranger to Iberia Parish. He is a native of Louisiana and has close family members who live in New Iberia. We look forward to bringing his rich skill set and leadership to the Shadows-on-the-Teche starting on March 1.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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