One of the nation’s leading scholars on race in education, John B. Williams has been named a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF). Williams, who recently retired as Vice President of the Public Welfare Foundation after five years of service, has been a teacher, administrator, author, and advocate for equity in education for more than four decades.
"We are very pleased to have John join SEF during the next year," noted SEF President Kent McGuire. "As he continues his lifelong dedication to expanding opportunities for all students to gain a college education regardless of race, ethnicity, or income, John will provide wise counsel, solid analysis, and new perspectives to SEF’s work."
Williams began his career more than 40 years ago working on issues of urban education in New Jersey. After administrative and teaching posts at the National Institute of Education, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Vanderbilt University, Williams spent 14 years at Harvard University, where his responsibilities included Interim Director of the Urban Superintendents Program and Associate Professor of Education. Shortly afterwards, Williams took the post of Vice President and Senior Program Officer at the Spencer Foundation, where he served for five years before joining the faculty of the College of Education at the University of Maryland in College Park.
During the 1990s, Williams served on an SEF advisory panel and informally worked with and advised SEF on program issues. "I am delighted to be associated with SEF once again," Williams stated. "It is more than a venerable institution. It is focused and poised to continue to help solve the fundamental problems of education confronting the nation."
Williams follows Bernard R. Gifford, Professor of Cognition and Development: Policy, Organization, Measurement, and Evaluation at the Graduate School of Education of the University of California Berkeley, who served as an SEF Distinguished Visiting Fellow during the 2008‐09 academic year.