Ellen Smith

City Council
Title: Council Member
Phone: 865-425-3411 Fax: 865-425-3409
City Council Page
Ellen Smith

A native of Connecticut, Ellen Smith has lived in Oak Ridge since 1981. She is retired from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she worked for many years as an environmental scientist on the research staff of the Environmental Sciences Division, engaged in work related to waste management and environmental impact assessment for various energy technologies and federal activities.

She was first elected to City Council in 2007, and served from 2007 to 2012 and from 2014 to the present. As a Council member she was Mayor Pro-Tem from 2014 to 2016, serves on ad hoc Council committees including numerous years on the Budget and Finance Committee, represented the Council on the City and Schools Preschool Planning Committee in 2015, and has represented city government in retail recruitment activities. Since 2016 she has been a member of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Advocacy Committee of the National League of Cities (NLC), and served a term as that committee’s chair and a member of the NLC Board of Directors in 2021.

Ellen was an appointed member of the City's Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB) from 1991 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2014. She was EQAB's vice-chairman for 5 years and chairman for 11 years.

Ellen received a BA degree in 1974 from Carleton College in Minnesota, where her major was geology. In 1979 she obtained an MS degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also studied for a graduate degree in geology.

She engages in a diverse variety of activities and learning opportunities to maintain her awareness of the community and its needs, expand her knowledge of municipal governance, and support public and private initiatives to enhance our quality of life.

Some of her present and past civic activities, memberships, and recognitions include:

  • Tennessee Out-Reach Center for Homeless (TORCH), board member and officer.
  • Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation (AFORR), board member and officer.
  • Friends of ORNL, board member and officer.
  • Keep Anderson County Beautiful, board member.
  • Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, board member.
  • League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge
  • Altrusa International of Oak Ridge
  • Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club
  • NAACP Oak Ridge-Anderson County
  • Completed the Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) Elected Officials Academy.
  • Environmental Management (EM) and Stewardship Committee of the DOE Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (SSAB).
  • Member of two technical committees for the Plan ET regional planning initiative (2011-2013) for the Knoxville region.
  • Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee (dissolved in 2011), board of directors.
  • Oak Ridge High School Stakeholders' Committee, 2003.
  • Community Leadership Award, UT-Battelle Awards Night, 2001.
  • Oak Ridge City Center Master Plan Steering Committee, 2001.
  • Oak Ridge Reservation Stewardship Working Group, 1999.
  • Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) strip-mining committee. Received "Friend of SOCM" Awards in 1988 and 1997.
  • Oak Ridge Regional Planning Commission Karst Task Force, 1997.
  • Cub Scout Pack 226 (Linden School), volunteer leader, 1996-1998.
  • Lower East Fork Poplar Creek Citizens' Working Group, 1992-1994.
  • Oak Ridge Greenways Task Force (1992-1993).
  • Association for Women in Science (AWIS) - East Tennessee Chapter. Charter member and former officer. Award for Service to AWIS-ETC, 1988.

Ellen is married to Richard Norby, a retired senior researcher in the ORNL Environmental Sciences Division and a UT-Battelle corporate fellow emeritus.

Visit Ellen's website.

Term Expires: November 2026


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