Stephen Smith serves as chief of staff to Governor Haslam, overseeing day-to-day operations of the governor's office and serving as top advisor and strategist.
Smith joined Governor Haslam’s staff in August 2016, helping shape the 2017 NextTennessee legislative agenda and taking leading roles in advancing the IMPROVE Act – the governor’s plan to enact the largest tax cut in state history while delivering a safe, reliable and debt-free transportation network – and developing the “Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act” – the governor’s effort to increase broadband access to Tennessee’s unserved citizens.
Prior to joining the governor’s office, Smith served as deputy commissioner for policy and external affairs at the Tennessee Department of Education. At the department, Smith worked with the administration, the Tennessee General Assembly and other stakeholders on key policy, legislative and legal issues. He was central in the development and adoption of several key administration policies and reforms, including revisions to the state’s education accountability system, teacher tenure reform, expansion of school choice options, modernization of the state’s teacher salary schedule and enhancement of the state’s funding formula for education.
Smith is a licensed attorney and formerly worked in private practice as well as the nonprofit sector representing clients in both a legal and consulting capacity.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his law degree from the Nashville School of Law.
He and his wife, Christina, live in Williamson County and have three young daughters.