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NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams Receives Humanitarian Award

(New Orleans – January 19, 2023) – NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams was recently named as one of two recipients of the 2023 Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). This award recognizes leaders who exemplify the qualities modeled by the late Dr. Effie Hall Jones, a veteran educator and AASA associate executive director. Dr. Williams will receive the award at the AASA National Conference on Education in San Antonio Friday, Feb. 17.

"I am so humbled and touched to receive this recognition. Dr. Effie Jones was a stellar career educator who placed the success of students and leaders first, while focusing on placing more woman and people of color in senior leadership roles," said Dr. Williams. "In high school, no one explained to me that going to college was an option. So, I served in the military instead. I'm proud of my service, but the lack of options inspired me throughout my educational career to ensure scholars had mentors and educators to encourage them and provide them opportunities for success. Along my journey, I found mentors who supported me and allowed me to serve in leadership positions that have helped me achieve my goals. To be recognized for continuing the tradition of reaching back and lifting up women and people of color as I move forward is truly an honor."

Throughout her career, Dr. Effie H. Jones maintained a professional and personal commitment to diversifying the field of education with high-quality leaders and to ensuring the best education for all students. The recipients of the honor given in her name have picked up the torch of equity and social justice and demonstrate its humanity in their lives. The award was first given in 2004 and recipients are selected by an external independent panel of AASA members and representatives from the National Alliance of Black School Educators and the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

"The key determinant behind whether or not the children of our country have access to a quality education begins and ends with the issue of equity, which is the centerpiece of this award," said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. "Dr. Jones was a transformer and a change agent in her relentless pursuit to foster equity, opportunity, and inclusion for all students. She would have been proud of our honorees—Avis Williams and Brenda Elliott—two champions of equity and champions for children. Their unselfish devotion to the students and communities they serve has been nothing short of outstanding."

Dr. Williams joined NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) in the Spring of 2022. She is the first woman to be permanently appointed to the role. Her core values are equity, excellence, and joy, and she is known for her ability to drive innovation while improving an organization's culture and climate. An award-winning educator and sought-after speaker, she is a native of Salisbury, North Carolina. A product of poverty, Dr. Williams dreamed of becoming a teacher from an early age. As a first-generation, four-year college student, she followed the path of her older siblings and joined the U.S. Army right after high school before embarking on her journey into the field of education.

Prior to her historic appointment to lead NOLA-PS, Williams served as superintendent of Selma City Schools in Selma, Alabama where she championed equity by prioritizing mental health and establishing a social justice academy. Williams is among the fourth cohort of AASA Urban Academy/Howard University Cohort graduates and the AASA National Superintendent Certification Program®.


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). NOLA-PS currently oversees 72 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, the first woman in the District's 181 years to serve as its permanent superintendent.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools. 

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