Norman Public Schools has named longtime district administrator Stephanie Williams its first-ever executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion.
Williams, currently principal at Longfellow Middle School and chair of NPS' Diversity Enrichment Council, is joining the district's leadership team for the executive director position.
Her new position will focus on enhancing the district's diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
“It has been my goal from the onset of my time as superintendent to have someone solely focused on diversity, inclusiveness and equity in our schools and workplaces,” Superintendent Nick Migliorino said in a news release Wednesday. “I believe this is a vital position in our district that must be sustained over time and I am confident that Stephanie’s leadership will continue to advance our efforts through this essential work.”
Williams has been with NPS since 2005. Before serving as Longfellow principal for the last two years, she served as assistant principal at Whittier Middle School and Norman North High School, where she helped start the Freshman Academy program. Williams also taught at Irving Middle School for five years, according to NPS.
As chair of the Diversity Enrichment Council, Williams led a group that aims to increase diversity among NPS administration and staff. The council also works to support professional development in the district in implicit bias and cultural competency, and develops plans and actions to increase inclusivity and equity within the district.
In his fall 2019 "State of the Schools" address, Milgiorino said that while the district's student body has become more diverse in the last few years, the district's teacher and administrator makeup has not kept up. At the time, Migliorino said 91% of NPS' certified staff was white, and that the Diversity Enrichment Council was working on recruiting and supporting diverse leaders and administrators in Norman schools.
According to the district, Williams will now continue the work she did as chair of the council "with a singular focus on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in schools and workplaces."
Williams also has experience in working with municipal diversity initiatives after serving as a member of Norman's Inclusive Community Subcommittee last fall. The subcommittee, a division of Norman's Human Rights Commission, recommends actions and initiatives focused on creating a more inclusive city.
According to the district, Williams has also established a district mentoring program called D.A.R.E. 2 H.O.P.E., and serves on the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education’s Education Professions Division Advisory Council at OU.
“I am excited to assume a role that continues to support our district's value of inclusiveness,” Williams said in a news release. “Striving for social justice, being culturally aware and achieving equity for all are integral to the values we hold as a district. My passion for this work goes far beyond what words can truly express as representation matters...period.
"I am honored to lead this district in doing the important work of advocating for and creating spaces where not only the voices of marginalized groups can be heard, but also where there is action taking place to ensure our schools are the best they can be for our students, staff and families. We are stronger because of our diversity."