Collette V. Smith, the first African-American female coach in the National Football League, will deliver the keynote address at The Harvey School commencement in June, the school has announced. Smith, currently serving as Director of Government and Community Relations for the new Women’s National Football Conference (WNFC), made history in 2017 when she served as defensive backs coach for the New York Jets during training camp. She was the first female to coach for the Jets franchise.
In her role as a member of the executive staff for the WNFC, Smith helps promote the Women’s Professional Football League operating this spring in its inaugural season with 15 teams competing for a chance to play in the championship game at the end of June.
Smith, who grew up a NY Jets fan in Queens, New York, is a former women’s professional football player and the founder and president of Believe N You, Incorporated, which visits schools, children's organizations, and corporations to encourage and inspire individuals to find success in their lives.
Smith also serves as an Ambassador for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Up2UsSports, Billie Jean King’s Women’s Sports Foundation and the Voss Foundation, which facilitates access to clean water for women in rural Africa. She is also an official Wish Granter with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Smith is the recipient of several honors, including the “Year of the Woman Award” Feb. 1 at the Power of Influence Awards in Atlanta. She was also honored March 22 with actor Danny Glover’s Power of Dreams Award at the United Nations in NYC. Smith will be this year’s Grand Marshall at the 50th Annual African-American Day Parade in Harlem, New York, Sept. 15.
In making the announcement, Harvey’s Head of School Bill Knauer said, “We are excited to welcome Collette Smith as our commencement speaker and look forward to her words of inspiration for our graduating seniors.”
The Harvey School will celebrate the graduation of 74 members of the Class of 2019, Thursday, June 6, at 10 a.m. in the school’s Fenstermacher Athletic Center.