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COO Dr. Theresa Williams Named to Future Chiefs Leadership Program

July 1, 2021

Dr. Williams PortraitPlano ISD’s Chief Operating Officer Dr. Theresa Williams is one of 11 individuals nationwide selected to the sixth cohort of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program. According to the organization, Future Chiefs comprises a pipeline of talented, diverse, bold and innovative leaders who are helping transform our nation’s schools and preparing to lead major school systems. As participants in the yearlong program, Future Chiefs will engage in collective learning on issues central to effective leadership and receive coaching and mentorship from members of the nationwide Chiefs for Change network.

“Dr. Williams is a proven leader who is always advocating for students and staff,” stated Plano ISD Superintendent of Schools Sara Bonser. “In addition to steering the administration through unknown challenges during this past year, she has provided comprehensive leadership in support of our students, families, staff and community for the past three years. Dr. Williams certainly exemplifies leadership at its best.” 

As Plano ISD’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) since 2018, Dr. Williams is charged with assisting the superintendent in providing leadership for the district’s 72 campuses, carrying out strategic objectives and serving as acting superintendent when needed. An educator for 27 years, she began her career as a high school teacher in Garland ISD and has since served in numerous campus and district level leadership positions, including as executive director of education operations with Garland ISD and deputy superintendent at Lubbock ISD before joining Plano ISD.

“Reflected in the beliefs of Chiefs for Change are my own values and beliefs that have called me to this work,” Dr. Williams stated. “I have always been drawn toward work that allows me to contribute to implementing systems of support for students, staff and families, as well as strategic design for school improvement.” 

Over the next year, she and other emerging leaders who have been tapped to be in the sixth cohort will participate in learning experiences such as peer-to-peer sessions, shadowing current Chiefs for Change members and monthly coaching from former school district and state education chiefs.

“COVID and the events of the past year and a half have tested education systems across the country with challenges that go well beyond what K-12 leaders have traditionally faced,” said Chiefs for Change Board Chair and San Antonio Independent School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez. “The members of our new Future Chiefs cohort will play an important role in shaping public education as our nation recovers from the pandemic and strives to create better, more equitable schools for our children.”

Of the 43 leaders who made up the first five cohorts, 49 percent have become superintendents or state chiefs.