A Message from Interim Superintendent Dr. Nicole Williams
Welcome Back to a New Year and a new day in Saint Louis Public Schools (SLPS)! I hope each of you had the opportunity to rest, reconnect with family and friends, and recharge.
We have much to look forward to in 2023 including the new opportunities that come with transition and change. After 14 years of dedicated service to generations of SLPS students and families, Dr. Kelvin R. Adams retired on December 31st. Over the years, Dr. Adams has proven to be a strong leader. I am personally grateful for his mentorship and for the confidence he placed in me to lead this mission-critical work. We all wish him the best as he starts a new chapter in his exceptional education career.
On January 1, 2023, I officially began my tenure as Interim Superintendent. In accordance with the intentional plan crafted by the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, I will serve in this role for up to six months while the Board continues its search for its next superintendent. The application process is complete and, according to the timeline established, interviews will be held during January 2023.
Over the next few months, I am prepared to work with the Board, to lay the foundation for the next era in our District’s history. In the meantime, please let me share insights on my experience and how I intend to collaborate with all stakeholders to keep our District moving forward and growing stronger each day.
In 2011, I served as the Deputy Superintendent for Academics/Chief Academic Officer (CAO) at SLPS. During that time, I cultivated a strong labor-management collaboration between district leaders, school leaders, and our teachers’ union (AFT St. Louis, Local 420) to set the District on the path to full accreditation. Additionally, I worked in partnership with our administrative leaders, school teams, and local and state agencies to improve academic performance districtwide. I left SLPS in 2013 to serve as Superintendent of Schools in New York State (Poughkeepsie City School District). In July 2021, I returned to SLPS as Chief of Staff.
My 35-year career in public education has included leadership roles in New York City and New York State. I have served students and families as a classroom teacher, co-founder of a middle school, bilingual educator, deputy superintendent and superintendent.
At every step, I remained committed to ensuring high academic achievement for all students, specifically by empowering 21st-century, deeper learning practices through immersive opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through the creation of inclusive, equitable learning environments, SLPS students are on paths to excellence. My goal is to continue our focus on deeper learning by making instructional improvement essential to all district decisions.
We have wonderful opportunities on the horizon as we work to bring forward the projects made possible by the voters’ approval of Proposition S, the District’s $160 million no tax increase bond measure. Schools across our District will benefit from Prop S funds as we make repairs to major systems, exact environmental change, repave playgrounds and make safety and security improvements as needed.
We will focus on maintaining safe, thriving school environments, as well as expanding mental health partners and services to students, staff, and families. On the academic side, our new literacy programs are proving effective and results are promising.
We are poised to make inroads by providing rich and experiential educational experiences at every grade level. In support of this, we are on the move with our legislative priorities and our Citywide Plan for Education—both mission-critical Board initiatives. The Board is also in the process of crafting and refining our District’s Transformation Plan 4.0, with equity and inclusion as our anchoring ideals.
I value each of you and look forward to our collaborative work during this pivotal time in our District’s history. I intend to solicit your “feedforward” (focusing on the future, solution-driven) and insights on the next chapter for our District.
I am humbled and inspired to serve as Interim Superintendent. My overarching goal is to continue the momentum we currently enjoy and build on the foundation that has been so expertly laid over the past several years. I look forward to meeting as many parents, guardians/caregivers, students, staff, and community as I can over the next few months. Working together, our District will become stronger and better than ever.
Dr. Nicole Williams
Saint Louis Public Schools
More About Dr. Williams:
Dr. Williams earned a master’s and doctorate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education (with a concentration in the Urban Superintendents Program) and a master’s degree in education (with a concentration in bilingual education), from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She served on the New York State Council of School Superintendents’ Diversity and Inclusivity Commission, where she focused on addressing gender and racial parity across the 733 school districts in New York State. Dr. Williams is married with an adult son and an “awesome” 5-year-old grandson