Get to know ASBA’s new executive director and her priorities
Building relationships with education advocates, finding ways to increase education funding and developing solutions for the teacher shortage are priorities for Arizona School Boards Association’s new executive director Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams.
“It’s all about educating our children. It’s all about our future,” Dr. Harrison-Williams said. “And it’s up to us to make sure that we are educating all of the children in the State of Arizona.”
Video by Brooke Martinez/ASBA: Meet ASBA Executive Director Dr. Sheila Harrison-Williams
Dr. Harrison-Williams lived with her grandparents in Clarksdale, Mississippi until she was 8 years old, then she moved to the West side of Chicago to stay with her mom and attend and graduate from Chicago Public Schools.
Dr. Harrison-Williams earned her bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education and her master’s degree in educational administration from Northeastern Illinois University – Chicago. She taught in the community she grew up in, then later earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Illinois University – DeKalb.
Dr. Harrison-Williams served as superintendent of Hazel Crest School District in Illinois for 14 years and as superintendent of Fairmont School District for 2 ½ years. She was president of the Illinois Association of School Administrators and served on their board for 12 years.
She also served as executive board treasurer for the National Alliance of Black School Educators since 2015. She also co-founded the HWC Executive Leadership Institute with Dr. Connie Collins in Hazel Crest, Ill., a nonprofit that promotes the development of high performing school district leaders.
ASBA’s advocacy work and professional development for school board members is part of what attracted Dr. Harrison-Williams to the organization.
Dr. Harrison-Williams noted that she has experience working with state legislators in Illinois on issues like the ones “we’re dealing with here in Arizona,” during an interview with KJZZ 91.5 FM.
When asked what education priorities she’d like to work on, Dr. Harrison-Williams said, “public funding, which is also a national issue, and the teacher shortage, which is also a funding issue.”
It’s important that people respect educators and the work that they do, which could help increase the number of people who become teachers, Dr. Harrison Williams said.
“I’d like to bring all voices to the table to discuss how we are going to improve public education,” Dr. Harrison Williams said. “We are going to have to have the support of state leaders to get this done.”