National Book Foundation Provides Update on Leadership Transition

December 2020



Following her departure at the end of 2020, Lisa Lucas will become a member of the NBF Board of Directors and Deputy Director Jordan Smith will serve as Interim Executive Director

Following the announcement earlier this year that Lisa Lucas will be stepping down from her role as Executive Director of the National Book Foundation to become Senior Vice President & Publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books, today the Foundation is sharing the news that Lucas will be joining the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and that Jordan Smith, current Deputy Director, will serve as Interim Executive Director of the Foundation, effective December 18.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to announce these appointments,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors. “Until we complete the formal search process to permanently fill the Executive Director position, we are very fortunate to have such an experienced and proven leader in Deputy Director Jordan Smith, and, of course, we are thrilled to welcome Lisa Lucas in her new capacity as a member of the Foundation’s Board.”

“Having worked alongside Jordan for many, many years, I have complete faith in her ability to ensure that the Foundation’s programs and activities continue to run as smoothly as they are now,” said Lisa Lucas, outgoing Executive Director. “I look forward to seeing all the great work that is to come, and for the opportunity to participate in this next chapter as a member of the Board of Directors.”

“I am grateful to have worked closely with Lisa Lucas and the Board of Directors for the past five years, and to have gained firsthand experience overseeing the Foundation, and maximizing the reach and impact of the work we do,” said Jordan Smith, incoming Interim Executive Director. “I am excited to help shepherd the Foundation during this important transition, and I’m especially pleased to have Lisa’s continued input and connection to our work as part of our Board.”

Smith joined the National Book Foundation in 2016 as Director of Education, and was promoted to Deputy Director in 2019. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Smith spent five years at Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), where she served as Director of Education. In addition to her work at MoMI, she has worked as an educator and administrator at museums and arts organizations across New York City including the American Folk Art Museum, Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, and Tribeca Film Institute. She holds a BA from Smith College and an MA from New York University.

During her tenure at the Foundation, Smith has been instrumental in growing and expanding programmatic activities, supporting key fundraising initiatives, serving as a supervisor for programs staff and contractual teaching staff, and developing systems around program implementation and tracking that have allowed for more impactful programming, and for the Foundation’s reach to be even greater. One of Smith’s most notable contributions was the design, launch, and oversight of Book Rich Environments, a collaboration with the United States Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, the Urban Libraries Council, and the National Center for Families Learning, which over the past four years has distributed 1.4 million books to young people and families in public housing communities across the country.