Meet Amy Erica

My name is Amy Erica Smith, and I’d love to serve you or your family on the Ames Community School Board. My husband Tibi and I moved to Ames in 2012, when I took a job at ISU. We have two boys: a new middle schooler and a fourth grader at Meeker. Together, we all take care of our beautiful rescue dog named Anise.

I grew up in Dallas, Texas, in a home where my mom struggled to support the family on a teacher’s salary. But I had access to great public schools that provided a diverse, academically rigorous education — the same kind of education our children can have access to here in Ames.

As a mom and a caring adult in the community, I’ve taken care of a lot of different kinds of kids and young adults, including gifted kids, kids with disabilities, LGBTQ+ kids, immigrant kids, and ones facing mental health and other challenges. I’m a fluent Spanish and Portuguese speaker, and spent a year after college working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in low-income immigrant communities along the Texas-Mexico border. I believe that our job as grownups is to make Ames a community where all our children can be safe and healthy and grow up to be their best selves.

In my community life, I help with many efforts to serve low-income and immigrant families in Ames. I currently serve on the lay Executive Board of my church, the Ames UCC. On the Board, I am responsible for distributing funds to area community organizations. For three months this summer, I helped administer the church’s Pastoral Emergency Fund, where I was a point of contact for families in our community who are facing housing crises. As a family, my husband Tibi and I enjoy hiking with our kids on Boy Scout adventures, and cooking with our kids at Food at First.

In my day job, I’m an associate professor of political science at ISU, as well as a Carnegie Fellow. I hold a PhD in political science from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA in community and regional planning from Cornell University, and a BA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. My research examines how citizens understand and get engaged in politics; I am an expert on Latin America, and especially Brazil.

I’m also highly engaged in service to my professional community, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. For the past three years, I have served on the Executive Committee of the Religion and Politics section of the American Political Science Association, where I created a new small grant program and initiatives to mentor students. I am Chair of the Executive Committee in 2021-22.

I look forward to learning about your experiences and concerns, and I hope I get to meet you in person or online soon!

Our dog Anise in Minecraft gear, courtesy of my son


“Amy Erica is a great listener and data-driven. She will prioritize equity and opportunity for all Ames kids. As an Ames High graduate, a former Ames teacher, and a parent of kids in the district, I’m proud to support her candidacy for the Ames School Board.”

Ellyn Grimm

Ames Resident

“I’m excited to vote for Amy Erica for school board because of the values and experience she brings. I trust that she will bring her years of experience as an educator and researcher to the work of supporting students, teachers, and the district. Her knowledge as a parent with kids in Ames schools as well as her passion for education and equity will make her a great addition to school board this fall!”

Sandra Marcu

Ames Resident / Parent