Advancement and
Alumni Engagement

Lora Smothers 09C

Director | Joy Village School | Athens, GA

Lora Smothers is a visionary educator with a decade of leadership experience in educational and faith-based organizations. With a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Emory and a master’s degree in gifted education from the University of Georgia, Smothers seeks to create culturally safe learning environments for Black children. Her career highlights include giving a TED Talk, hosting the Groundbreakers Unconference that united progressive educators from across the Southeast, and coaching dozens of school leaders in Canada, Kenya, New Caledonia, and the United States. She is now using her education and experience as the founder and director of the Joy Village School in Athens, Georgia's only private school centered on the joy and thriving of Black youth.

“My time at Emory has led to my career success because it exposed to me to cultural experiences I never would have had otherwise, and it challenged me academically and emotionally beyond anything I had experienced. The connections I made at Emory continue to be life-giving and world-expanding for me, even 13 years later.”