Judi Williams joined the Shady Side Academy administration on July 1, 2017, as the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Community Relations. In this newly created, full-time position, Williams will work closely with the heads of school and administration to develop and implement systematic, mission-driven frameworks that advance diversity and inclusion efforts across the Academy's four campuses.
Williams reports directly to Academy President Tom Cangiano and will provide strategic leadership in the areas of diversity, inclusion and community relations. She also will support the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds; support the development of an inclusive and multicultural curriculum; serve as a resource for faculty for curriculum design and student support; serve as a liaison for diversity and inclusion-related student groups; support and develop student diversity leadership; plan and coordinate diversity and inclusion-focused programs, events and professional development; and act as a liaison between SSA and underrepresented communities for recruitment and outreach.
"Shady Side Academy has a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion," said Cangiano. "We believe that diversity adds to the richness and depth of our students' overall learning experience. The addition of this new position underscores that commitment, and I am thrilled to have someone of Judi's experience join our administrative team. We look forward to her leadership in facilitating conversations between and among all groups of students and faculty across the Academy."
Williams came to SSA from Choate Rosemary Hall (CT) where she served as a history and political science teacher, advisor to students of color (with the Department of Equity and Inclusion,) dorm advisor, lacrosse coach and faculty advisor for several clubs related to diversity and inclusion. She previously taught and served as a department chair, dorm parent and advisor at several New York schools, including Darrow School, St. Francis of Assisi School, The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. She also served as a faculty member at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference and an instructor for Prep for Prep, where she designed and implemented a rigorous history curriculum for gifted, low-income students of color in preparation for entrance into elite boarding schools. Williams holds a B.A. in political science and economics from Syracuse University and an M.A. in secondary social studies education from New York University."I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity to work at such an elite, forward-thinking institution," said Williams. "It is often the case that schools of SSA's age and caliber become complacent in their effort towards being the best possible learning and working environment for every member of their communities. It's refreshing to be at a school that is so intentional about remaining true to its mission and to the core purpose of an independent school education – to develop young people who are confident, lead responsibly, think critically, and care about and are prepared to ethically engage in the society at large."