OAKLAND, Calif. — BookNook today announced a strategic addition to its Board of Directors, Ralph Smith, JD.

Mr. Smith is currently the Managing Director for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a national, philanthropic collaborative leading the charge to close the reading opportunity gap for children across the United States. The Campaign’s partner networks include hundreds of public, private, and nonprofit sector organizations, including the National League of Cities, United Way Worldwide, and the America’s Promise Alliance. At the state and local level, the Campaign works with governors, mayors, school boards, superintendents, teachers, chambers of commerce, and many others across 44 of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

“Without a doubt, Ralph is one of the foremost leaders in the country on the issue of the early reading opportunity gap,” said Michael Lombardo, founder and CEO of BookNook. “His unparalleled experience in forging partnerships between the public and private sector to drive measurable improvements in reading achievement will be an invaluable asset as BookNook continues to grow.”

Mr. Smith also has significant and broad experience in the education sector. He served on the boards of the education technology pioneer LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. and Nobel Learning Communities Inc. (the largest network of independent elementary schools and preschools in the United States), and he was a Special Counsel and Chief of Staff for the Philadelphia School District. As an active leader in philanthropy, he has served as board chair of the Council of Foundations and served on other boards, including Venture Philanthropy Partners, the Alliance for Early Success, and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

“BookNook represents the ideal combination of evidence-based practice, measurable impact for students, and the potential for scalability,” said Smith. “I am impressed with the progress the BookNook team has made over the past two years, and I look forward to joining the continuing rapid expansion.”

Previously, Mr. Smith has served as Executive Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Mr. Smith was a tenured member of the law faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught corporations, securities, and educational law and policy.

Mr. Smith resides in Philadelphia with his family.