Charlottesville City Council
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, settling in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood where they raised two children, who attended Charlottesville Public Schools. Son, Chris, is now a interactive graphics editor with TIME, and daughter, Leigh, is pursuing policy and research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
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.
And…..Dede is currently the Vice Mayor of Charlottesville.
City Council Representative to Boards and Commissions: 2012-2015
- Governor's Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice
- Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System Task Force
- Department of Social Services Advisory Committee
- Citizen's Advisory Panel to Police
- LEAP: Local Energy Alliance Program
- Rivanna River Basin Committee
- Charlottesville-Albemarle Rivanna River Committee
- Historic Resources Committee
- African American Heritage Center Advisory Committee
- Charlottesville Area Transit Advisory Committee: Chair
- Charlottesville Scholarship Program
- Charlottesville Retirement Commission
Boards and Community Service: 1979-2015
PTO President / classroom volunteer / school advocate, Jackson-Via Elementary: 1989-1998
- Focus on curriculum based art and writing enrichment and nature studies
- Construction of a network of nature trails and amphitheater at Jackson-Via Elementary
- PTO Central Council
- Charlottesville "100" Volunteer Award for service to Jackson-Via
- Rivanna Trails Foundation
- Rivanna Master Naturalists
- Take A Walk at Ivy Creek
- Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan
- Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards
- Amazing Trees of Charlottesville
- Blue Ridge Discovery Center
- Backyard Revolution
- Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary
- Central Virginia History Group: African-American History of Central Virginia
Charlottesville Years: 1979-2015
Family, Employment and Significant Accomplishments:
- Married to Tim Wilson, Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia
- Children: Son, Chris Wilson (interactive graphics editor at TIME); daughter, Leigh Wilson (MSW Children's Hospital of Philadelphia); daughter-in-law Susan Edwards (health care regulatory law, Reed Smith DC)
- Resident of the historic Fry's Spring neighborhood 35 years
- Research in Immunology and Infectious Disease; University of VA Medical Center: 1979-1987
- Director of the Ivy Creek Foundation; 1993-2007
- Construction of the Education Center at the Ivy Creek Natural Area
as a model of sustainable construction
- Creation of the Ragged Mountain Natural Area
- Designation of the Ivy Creek Natural Area as an African American Heritage Site
- Restoration of the fescue hayfields to historic warm season native grasses
- Charlottesville School Board: 2000-2006: Chair 2004-2005
- Co-founder of Rivanna chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists 2006
- Co-founder of the Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan 2007
- Neighborhood Leadership Institute 2010
- Elected to City Council: November 2011