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Esteemed Educational Leader Dr. Anthony Williams to Speak at SSA Commencement

Head of School for The Neighborhood Academy Dr. Anthony P. Williams will be the featured speaker at Shady Side Academy’s 2024 Commencement Exercises, held Saturday, June 8, at 9 a.m. in Michael J. Farrell Stadium.

One of Pittsburgh’s most dynamic school leaders, Dr. Williams, is Head of School at The Neighborhood Academy (TNA), a national model for the education of at-risk youth. Co-founded in 2001 by the late Rev. Tom Johnson ’73 and funded almost entirely by philanthropy, TNA seeks “to break the cycle of generational poverty by empowering youth and preparing them for college and for citizenship.” Today, 100% of TNA graduates are admitted to college and over 80% complete their degrees, well above the nation’s 16% college graduation rate for low-income college students. 

In addition to his leadership of TNA, Dr. Williams co-founded Stairways to Success. This out-of-school learning program provides low-income students in Pittsburgh access and resources that enable their matriculation from high school and a range of post-secondary education opportunities. Dr. Williams is also a founder of the Pittsburgh College Access Alliance, a collaboration between a range of local educational organizations dedicated to increasing access to higher education pathways for our region’s youth. 

Dr. Williams’ connections to Shady Side are varied and deep, highlighted by his recent influential role in launching the innovative and highly successful PIAA-approved cooperative sponsorship of football and girls’ volleyball between SSA and TNA. These co-ops give students at TNA, which does not have a football program, the opportunity to join the SSA football team, and students at SSA, which does not have a girls’ volleyball team, the opportunity to compete with the TNA squad. 

Broadly recognized for his contributions to education and the City of Pittsburgh, Dr. Williams is the recipient of Pittsburgh’s Lottie P. Edwards Community Service Award and the Pittsburgh Courier Men of Excellence Award, among many other honors. He also serves as a Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS) and as a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Financial Empowerment. Dr. Williams is a trustee of the Valley School of Ligonier, Steel City Squash, and the Tree of Life Congregation. 

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