Entrepreneur and charter school founder Kyle Smitley to speak at Defiance College

September 7, 2018

Kyle SmitleyDEFIANCE, Ohio - Defiance native Kyle Smitley will speak Thursday, Sept. 20, at Defiance College as part of the E.S. Dix Lectureship. She is founder and executive director of Detroit Achievement Academy and Detroit Prep, a pair of high-performing, nonprofit charter schools.

Smitley’s presentation, “Evolving as a Leader through Community Service,” will begin at 7 p.m. in Schomburg Auditorium. Her appearance is co-sponsored by the Defiance College Service Leadership program and is open to the public.

“I'm so excited to be back in Defiance speaking with DC students!” said Smitley. 

She will share with Defiance College’s service-minded students some of her own experiences as a college student. “My time in college was filled with volunteering at the local children's hospital and service trips to Central America,” she noted. “Those experiences shaped my time in college and my outlook on my role in society after I graduated. I still carry with me much of what I learned during those service experiences in college, and they certainly played a huge role in my chosen career and life path(s).” 

Smitley, a graduate of Defiance High School and DePauw University, founded the highly successful company Barley & Birch, a line of organic clothing for children. She was a young entrepreneur living in California, and felt, despite her success, that she needed to do something more meaningful. Thus, she moved to Detroit and opened the charter school Detroit Achievement Academy.

The schools have been featured by Ellen DeGeneres, Rolling Stone, and much of the media.

Smitley’s previous business experience was recognized by Inc. and Forbes magazines.

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts-based institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is www.defiance.edu.