A Glimpse into Dede's 35 Years in Charlottesville
Deirdre (Dede) Smith moved to Charlottesville in 1979 with her husband, UVA Professor of Social Psychology Tim Wilson. Dede and Tim settled in the Fry's Spring neighborhood, where they raised two children who attended Charlottesville Public Schools.
Their daughter Leigh is a research and policy associate at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Their son Christopher is an editor at TIME and lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Susan, a senior associate at Reed Smith LLP specializing in health care regulatory law.
Dede advocates for data driven decision making, reflecting her degree in Microbiology/Immunology and background in medical research at the University of Michigan, the Max-Planck Institute in Tubingen Germany, and the University of Virginia.
As a parent volunteer at Jackson-Via Elementary, Dede was a dogged advocate for the southside, high poverty schools that led to six years on the Charlottesville School Board, with a focus on accountability and narrowing the achievement gap. She was instrumental in writing the 2006 Strategic Plan focusing on measurable outcomes. In 1992, Dede was chosen as one of the Charlottesville 100 for "doing the right stuff for Charlottesville" for her work in the schools.
Dede's environmental credentials stem from 14 years as executive director of the Ivy Creek Foundation. During her tenure she expanded environmental education opportunities, facilitated the construction of the Ivy Creek Education Center, helped create the Ragged Mountain Natural Area, and researched the rich African American history of the Ivy Creek Natural Area (ICNA) culminating in the designation of ICNA as an African American Heritage site. In 2003, Dede was chosen as one of Charlottesville's Distinguished Dozen for community service in education and the environment.
Dede continues her interest in local African American history as a member of the Central Virginia Researchers Group, the Advisory Council to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, and the Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee. Dede's expertise in the African American history of Riverview Farm and the Hydraulic community was called on recently as part of the discovery of the Jesse Sammons cemetery found in the path of the Western Bypass.
Dede is a strong believer in the power and importance of community volunteerism. She is a co-founder and past president of the Rivanna Master Naturalists, founder of the Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan, and sits on the advisory board of the Local Energy Alliance Partnership (LEAP), Department of Social Services, and the Disproportionate Minority Contact Task Force. This past year, Dede was recruited to sit on the Governor's Advisory Council for Juvenile Justice.
Dede is currently the Vice Mayor of Charlottesville.