Jay Smink, D.Ed.

Dropout Prevention

Dr. Jay Smink

Former Executive Director, National Dropout Prevention Center/Network

Dr. Jay Smink

Professor Emeritus, College of Health, Education, and Human Development

Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29631


        Dr. Jay Smink served as the executive director of the National Dropout Prevention Center located at Clemson University from 1988 until his retirement in 2011. He was awarded professor emeritus of education leadership in the College of Health, Education, and Human Development. He earned his M.Ed. in Industrial Education and D.Ed. in Educational Administration from Penn State. His B.S. is in Industrial Arts from Millersville State College (PA).

        Dr. Smink began his career as a teacher in the Halifax Area School District (PA) and served in the Pennsylvania Department of Education as director of the Bureau of Research and Evaluation. He was on the research staff at the National Center for Research in Vocational Education at The Ohio State University and was a private business owner.

        Dr. Smink provided the vision and program leadership to the National Dropout Prevention Center and Network for more than two decades and has provided counsel to state education agencies and local school districts to develop, implement, and evaluate dropout prevention plans for their communities. His latest book, Helping Students Graduate: A Strategic Approach to Dropout Prevention, identifies the 15 most effective strategies to reduce the dropout rate.

        The Clemson University Board of Trustees presented Dr. Smink with the 2006 Award for Staff Excellence. He also received The Crystal Star Award for Distinguished Leadership and Service in 2006 by the National Dropout Prevention Network at the annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Dr. Smink was named in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Science, to serve on the national panel of experts to develop the IES Practice Guide on Dropout Prevention. He recently completed a television show, "Dropout Prevention: Helping All Students Get on Track for Success," for the U.S. Department of Education. He regularly provides professional guidance and counsel to major programs such as The Center for the Advancement of Mentoring, sponsored by OJJDP, or to local community-based groups such as United Way organizations.

        He is recognized as a national leader and authority on research-based risk factors related to truancy, violence, drugs, and gang issues; dropout early warning systems; school turnaround strategies; mentoring: alternative schools; career-technical education; and program evaluation. His expertise in school reform and dropout prevention is frequently used in legal testimony and in news reports and media releases.