LBUSD News (07/21/22) Remembering Bobbie Smith Skip to main content
Long Beach Unified School District Logo

Remembering Bobbie Smith

It is with heavy hearts that the Long Beach Unified School District announces the passing of former Board of Education member, Bobbie Smith.

Smith was the first African American elected to the LBUSD Board. Elected in 1988 and serving until 2004, she completed four terms as Board president during an era of major reforms that earned national recognition, including the implementation of school uniforms and standards-based instruction. 

Dr. Felton Williams, who succeeded Smith as the Board member representing District 2, spoke about Smith’s ability to lead and innovate during her time on the Board. 

“When we talk about Bobbie Smith, we talk about persistence, dignity, grace and quiet resolve,” said Williams. “Those are words I would use to describe Bobbie as she ushered in a framework that would ultimately lead to major changes in the way the District operated.”

Former LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser recalled Smith’s dedication to ensuring that every student had access to a world-class education, including student groups that were historically marginalized. 

“Her legacy is all about equality. She wanted to make the world a better place, and did so by making sure that equity and excellence could be found in every corner of our system,” Steinhauser said. 

In September 2014, Smith’s legacy was cemented in Long Beach when the LBUSD Board approved the renaming of Peter Burnett Elementary School to Bobbie Smith Elementary School. 

A staunch advocate for women’s rights, equality and justice, Smith served as a lifetime member and Golden Heritage member of the Long Beach Branch NAACP, and held the title of past president of the National Council of Negro Women in Long Beach. She was also the recipient of numerous honors and awards from various national and local organizations, and worked as a librarian for more than 20 years at Long Beach City College.

Erik Miller, who currently represents District 2 on the LBUSD Board, spoke about the impact Smith had on the greater Long Beach community.

“Bobbie Smith was a woman whose voice may have been soft, but it carried great impact,” Miller said. “Her passing is a big loss for our community here in Long Beach, but we intend to carry her tremendous legacy forward in every way possible.”

Bobbie Smith