Hope Academy

Dedicated To Excellence

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    Principal for a Day

    Mr. Thurston Smith

    Thurston S. Smith, MPA, LAC-S, CCS, CAADAC

    Adjunct Professor, Union University 

    Associate Minister, New Salem Missionary Baptist Church

    CARF International, Administrative Surveyor

    Paramount Consulting Group

    Website: www.pcgpllc.com/about

    Phone: (901) 825-4492 

    Thurston S. Smith, MPA, LAC-S, CCS, is a community organizer, educator, and civic activist, with over 25 years of experience in the health and human services industry. A retiree from the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, Thurston has served in a variety of leadership roles throughout his civil service career, including Congressional Liaison, Mental Health Program Coordinator, and Therapeutic and Supported Employment Services Program Supervisor.  He is a licensed counselor, certified coach/mentor, clinical supervisor, and has earned national certifications in counseling.  He is a former member of the Shelby County Commission Community Health Advisory Committee, Shelby County Juvenile Justice Consortium, Shelby County Opioid Task Force, and Charleston/Dorchester Mental Health Board. With academic distinction, he has earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Capella University School of Public Service Leadership, a Graduate Certificate in Counseling, and an Undergraduate Degree in Business, with specializations in Management and Leadership.


    Having an established background in  behavioral health, organizational leadership, and social sciences, Thurston currently serves as an adjunct professor at Memphis College of Urban and Theological Studies, of Union University, and has served as continuing education instructor for the Medical University of South Carolina, Alabama State University, University of Memphis, Rutgers University, Alabama Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and a host of other organizations, governmental agencies, and academic institutions across the United States. For over 20 years, Thurston has served as an administrative and program surveyor for CARF International, an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services agencies. Thurston has served on the Executive Board of Directors for NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, in Alexandria, Virginia, in the roles of Southeast Regional Vice President, Executive Secretary, and National Membership Chair. He’s also served as a project field reviewer, technical consultant, and subject-matter expert for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  He’s an associate minister at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church and is pursuing a Doctorate in Ministry Degree at Memphis Theological Seminary. Thurston is the recipient of numerous civic, public service, and professional honors, and is a recent inductee into the Sigma Alpha Pi Honor Society and is the recipient of the Presidential Service and Mel Schulstad Professional of the Year Awards.

    Principal for a Day

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About Hope Academy

  • Hope Academy's mission is to transform the mindsets of our students and create a culture of high character, redemption, achievement and positivity in order to equip them with the tools to be productive and successful in an ever changing society.

    The Shelby County Juvenile Justice Center Court judges, Court Administrator, Detention Director, Counselors, Teachers and staff believe that ALL students can learn. Hope Academy is committed to providing a quality interim educational program that will allow each juvenile the opportunity to achieve a higher potential while being detained in the Juvenile Detention Center. 

    Hope Academy is dedicated to:

    • Allowing youths enrolled in the Memphis-Shelby County School District an opportunity to keep current with their studies and facilitate their return to school when released.
    • Giving students an opportunity to succeed in their academics, which in turn can assist in improving self-esteem.
    • Providing opportunities for students not enrolled in school to explore GED, survival skills, life skills, and career vocational opportunities, which will eventually land them employment.
    • Complying with state and federal regulations that require all youths to attend school.
    • Ensuring the youths' rights to be educated.

Spotlight 901: Hope Academy