Shane Smith

I was born and raised in the Central Valley and am the product of a public school STEM education. I earned my college degree at UC Davis in 1997 while working summers in a sheet metal shop. I then went on to receive a Ph.D. from UCLA in 2003 for studies of brain tumors. After an exciting few years in public affairs, I earned my law degree from UC Berkeley in 2010 with an emphasis on intellectual property litigation. I am proud to practice at a top law firm in the Valley where my family lives and my daughter, Selina, is growing up.

But that is only part of who I am. My grandfather served in World War II and had many stories to tell from his lifelong career in the Army and Air Force. My dad served in the Air Force during the Vietnam Era. Together with my mom, Dad taught me the value of hard work and personal accountability from an early age. My wife, Katrina, and I try to instill those same values in Selina every single day.

A large part of holding yourself accountable is supporting the people you love. I remember the uncertainty mixed with joy during that moment at the top of the stairs in our San Francisco row house when Katrina explained that she got a fantastic opportunity to teach and do research in Merced. That was in 2011. And although I was then with a global law firm in the Silicon Valley, we chose to make our home in the Central Valley. I am very glad we did.

We have built lasting friendships and connected with people across the Merced community in ways we never could on the coast. We are proud to support education, arts, and health programs right here in Merced. I am a member of the Board of the Merced Symphony Association, an organization that provides education concerts for Merced City’s 4th graders every single year. And I was an active member of the Parent-Teacher Club at Peterson Elementary and then Burbank Elementary before joining the School Board.

Speaking with Merced residents about what they want in a school trustee, I learned that they value transparency, accountability, and the perspective of a professional who is a district parent. They want a trustee who understands our community’s ethnic and social diversity. They want a trustee who will empower teachers and school staff to boost achievement for all kids. And they want bold leadership so that our schools will adapt and succeed for years to come.