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OPSB Formally Appoints Dr. Avis Williams as the Next Superintendent for NOLA-PS


(New Orleans – April 14, 2022) — The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) unanimously voted to approve Dr. Avis Williams' contract and formally appoint her as the next superintendent for NOLA Public Schools' (NOLA-PS). Her official first day is Monday, July 11. The board's choice is historic: It marks the first time in the 181 years of public education in New Orleans that a woman was chosen to serve as the permanent superintendent for the District.


"Dr. Williams is extremely qualified to lead our district. She has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, serving as a teacher, a principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, and most recently as a superintendent," said OPSB President Olin Parker. "It's an historic and exciting day for our city as we formally appoint the first woman to serve as permanent superintendent in the District's 181 years. It's long overdue and on behalf of the board, we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Avis Williams to our NOLA-PS family."


"The education field is overwhelmingly female, and we know NOLA-PS has had countless women who were capable of leading this district prior to today," said OPSB member Katie Baudouin. "It's a proud and exciting time in our history to have a woman leading the District who is a talented educator and beloved leader and mother who understands the needs of our children. I'm certain Dr. Williams is willing and ready to continue to fight for the best interest of our students and ensure they succeed throughout their educational journey with NOLA-PS."


"I am truly honored, humbled, and excited to be part of this historic day for NOLA Public Schools. I look forward to listening and working with schools, teachers, families, the community, and our scholars to ensure academic success that will lead to bright, successful futures," said Dr. Avis Williams. "I appreciate the trust and confidence the board has in me. I will work hard to gain the trust of our families and the community as I work to instill the core values I live by in every facet of the District: Excellence, Equity, and Joy."


Dr. Williams' contract is commensurate with compensation packages of recently-hired superintendents both in similarly sized districts nationally and within the region, such as Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Cincinnati, and Mobile. According to data from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Dr. Williams will be paid at the 75th percentile of superintendents in districts with 25,000-49,999 students. NOLA-PS has more than 43,000 students. Her contract is for four years at an annual salary of $300,000.


"Dr. Williams comes into the role with more than 20 years as an educator, including five years of experience as a superintendent, and we believe our offer is grounded both in both equity and data," President Parker said.


Per the contract, Dr. Williams will be tasked with 12 comprehensive duties, including:


●Leading the development and implementation of a comprehensive, long-term vision and strategy for meeting the educational needs of all students served by schools governed by the Board.


●Leading the central office personnel with the primary mission of continual annual growth in academic performance among all charter and direct-run schools governed by the Board.


●Maintaining rigorous standards for charter school authorization recommendations that follow Board policy and are aligned with national best practices, as promulgated by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and demographic trends of the District. The Superintendent shall implement comprehensive measures to hold those charter schools accountable to those standards.


In addition, the contract provides the opportunity for specific performance-based objectives in the areas of facilities, finance, accountability, and truancy.


In her current role as Superintendent of Selma City Schools in Alabama, Dr. Williams has successfully increased the district's State Report Card by 8 points, from 68 to 76, the equivalent of raising it by a full letter grade. She also increased the graduation rate by 6%, reading scores by 6%, math by 8%, and achieved the distinction as the only district in the state to earn the Pathway, Tier I and Tier II Performance Excellence Awards through the Alabama Performance Excellence Program (Baldrige Framework).


Advocacy and community engagement have been hallmarks of Dr. Williams' service as the leader of Selma City Schools. She has written weekly articles in local publications, spoken to dozens of churches, civic groups, and other community partners to discuss issues impacting education, as well as addressed state legislators to help improve children's education. Prior to her superintendency in Selma, Dr. Williams served as the Assistant Superintendent of Tuscaloosa City Schools where she helped increase the graduation rate from 89 to 91% and developed a District Instructional Framework, which led to a 25-point increase in early literacy proficiency. In addition, she helped implement a $170M capital project.


Dr. Williams started her professional career serving as a sergeant in the United States Army before becoming a teacher and physical education coach in Huntsville, Ala.; an English teacher and assistant principal in Salisbury, N.C.; a principal in Huntsville, an adjunct education college professor in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and the Executive Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction in Greensboro, N.C. These roles have afforded Dr. Williams the unique privilege of serving as an elementary, middle, and high school principal, as well as a college professor – giving her a full perspective of what it takes to lead at all levels.


An avid writer, Dr. Williams is the author of a children's chapter book and has authored numerous pieces for state and national education publications. Her joy comes from spending time with her daughter, Bree, running, writing, and being a "dog mom" to her standard poodles, CoCo and Butterscotch. Never forgetting her roots, Dr. Williams enjoys giving back to her community while working with families in need.


A proud member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and Links, Inc., Dr. Williams is a member of numerous community organizations. She has created and delivered dozens of professional development and motivational sessions for national conferences, churches, student groups, educators, and leaders across the nation. Her areas of expertise include educating children in poverty, culture transformation, strategic planning, instructional leadership, and providing educational equity.


Dr. Williams is a member of Cohort 6 of Future Chiefs for Change. Her awards include the Marbury Technology Innovation Award by the Alabama Department of Education in 2011 as a principal and in 2019 as superintendent; the 2020 Alabama Alliance of Black School Educators (ABSE) Superintendent of the Year; the Dr. Ulysess Byas Superintendent of the Year; a 2019 finalist for Alabama State Superintendent of the Year; and one of two 2022 superintendent finalists for the School Superintendents' Association's (AASA) Women in School Leadership Award. The University of Alabama selected her for the 2021 Harold L. Bishop Alumni Award of Leaders, and the National School Public Relations Association identified her as one of the 2022 Superintendents to Watch for her dynamic leadership with strong communication at its core.


Ultimately, the board believes Dr. Williams' award-winning, proven instructional leadership and strategic planning will help increase student achievement and improve community support as NOLA-PS' superintendent of schools.

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About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools 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. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 76 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.


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

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