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Sheri Sue Williams
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(505) 277-0513
Biographical Information

Dr. Sheri S. Williams is an Associate Professor Emerita in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of New Mexico. She has published extensively on the preparation of next-generation leaders for change in urban, rural, and tribal schools and systems. Her teaching and scholarship is focused on relational leadership, critical thinking, and community engagement. Before moving to higher education, she served 23 years as a Superintendent of two rural school districts, Assistant Superintendent in a large urban district,  Principal of four rural schools, and teacher in suburban schools. She has received numerous awards including the Friend of Education Award from a state affiliate of the National Education Association and a fellowship from the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Her community work includes board member for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, board member of the New Mexico Voices for Children, and election to the office of Regional Vice President of the National PTA where she served as the first chair of the Inclusivity/Diversity Committee. Dr. Williams earned her B.A. from Colorado State University, M.A. from the University of Illinois, Ed.D. from Oklahoma State University, and post-doctoral Executive Leadership Certificate from the University of Colorado. She is the author of Beyond the schoolhouse: Eight shifts to change the paradigm from schools alone to engaged partnerships with families and communities. The book is available at

Positionality: Bridging with families and communities changed my life’s work in education. I used to think my job as an educator was a solo act. I started my career in education fifty years ago as a classroom teacher. I thought if I buffered myself from external influences I would have more control over my students’ learning. Now I think equitable access to a quality education is best achieved by bridging with families and communities. My work at every stage in my career was deeply influenced by a network of supportive and equity-minded allies who served as cultural brokers in linking, bridging, and mediating differences across constituents. My journey took me from buffering to bridging in partnership with families, communities, agencies, businesses and non-profits who worked with intentionality to disrupt the systems of advantage in schools and systems and make educational equity a reality.

Distinctions at UCEA: Appointed member of UCEA Policy Fellows, 2016-2020; Proposal development for UCEA Exemplary Principal Preparation Programs, 2019-2020; Member LSI-SIG, 2017-2019; Member and Co-Chair of the Awards Committee for the LTEL-SIG, 2014-2019