Maya Smart, wife of basketball coach Marquette, releases new book

MILWAUKEE — Maya Smart helps parents nurture, educate, and advocate for children on the road to reading.

“It really bothered me to hear stories of people whose kids arrived in preschool and were told they were already behind. So it didn’t sit well with someone being able to be behind at the start of school, so obviously there are things that parents need to know before they go to school to put their kids on the path to success,” says Smart.

Her goal is to educate a nation of readers and provide tools to put all of this into practice in everyday life with young children. To help achieve that goal, she has a website, a blog, and will be releasing a new book on July 26.

“It’s called ‘Reading For Our Lives: A Literacy Action Plan from Birth to Six’ and it’s really a compilation of all the things I’ve learned in my journey raising a reader and also through a lot of research and interviews, to find out to get the best practices and things that really work for parents,” said Smart.

Maya moved to Milwaukee with her family just over a year ago when her husband, Shaka Smart, took on the role of Head Coach of the Marquette Men’s Basketball Team.

“I didn’t really know Milwaukee, my very first time was after Shaka accepted the position here, so I was really excited to check it out,” said Smart.

In case you’re wondering, the cold and snow were nothing new. She is originally from Akron, Ohio and her husband is from Madison. “My husband is from Wisconsin, so I always tell people that snow builds character (laughs). So I was looking forward to that,” Smart said.

You’ll definitely see Maya Smart cheering for the Golden Eagles from the sidelines, but it doesn’t stop there. She is an associate professor of education policy and leadership at the College of Education at Marquette University, and Marquette president Michael Lovell has described their leadership as a couple as inspiring.

“We’ve really enjoyed our time being a part of the Marquette community and when you’re in a new place sometimes you see things with fresh eyes. And so one of the things that caught our eye were just some of the challenges with Black students on campus. So Shaka actually had the idea to create a Student Success Fund that would help people with the things that come into every life,” said Smart.

Maya’s resume alone is inspiring. She holds a BA in Social Studies with honors from Harvard University and a Master’s Degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. What advice does she have for other young women?

“So I would say to young women to take every opportunity inside and outside your job to hone your skills, build your network and connect and just keep learning and growing. Because you never know where you might be. ends up,” says Slim.

Maya also has some advice for parents trying to keep their kids entertained and learning during these summer months. “Try to have an adventure with the little ones and remind yourself to talk more than you originally would. There are all kinds of things, even just outside our neighborhood: the trees, the critters and all the things we can see as a chance to talk and teach, and learn. And learn in the moment, right? Exactly!”

Report a typo or errorSubmit a news tip

Leave a Comment