Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education member Felton Williams received the 2017 Urban Educator of the Year award last night at the Council of the Great City Schools’ 61st Annual Fall Conference in Cleveland.
Eleven school board members from big-city school districts competed for the nation’s highest honor in urban education leadership, recognizing in alternating years an outstanding superintendent and school board member from 69 of the largest urban public-school systems in the country.
“I am positively on cloud nine,” Williams said. “I’m deeply touched and grateful to the Council for this tremendous honor. While I appreciate the personal recognition, this award also is a reflection of the high quality of our school system in Long Beach and all the hard work of our talented team of educators and support staff, fellow school board members and superintendent, devoted parents, amazing students and exemplary community partners. I look forward to bringing this award home and sharing it with all of them.”
Urban school leaders applauded Williams during the Council’s annual “Urban Educator of the Year” award banquet, where he received the prestigious Green-Garner Award.
Sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Council, Aramark K-12 Education and Scholastic, Inc., the top prize is presented each year in memory of Richard R. Green, the first African American chancellor of the New York City school system, and businessman Edward Garner, who served on the Denver school board.
Williams has been on the Long Beach Board of Education for more than 13 years, serving multiple terms as president and vice president of the 74,000-student school system’s policymaking body. He has led efforts to improve student academic performance, including the planning and implementation of the district’s Academic and Career Success Initiative. He developed a program to increase the number of students of color pursuing Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams, and recommended adoption of an ethnic studies program in partnership with California State University, Long Beach.
The former dean at Long Beach City College earned a master’s degree in business administration at CSULB and a Ph.D. in higher education at Claremont Graduate University, where his professors included renowned business management guru Peter Drucker.
Williams has helped to improve urban education nationally. He has advocated for the nationally emulated Long Beach College Promise since its inception nearly 10 years ago, when LBUSD, LBCC and CSULB leaders committed to providing all local students specific support needed to prepare for and succeed in college. He is also the immediate past chair of the Council of the Great City Schools’ Board of Directors.
“Felton Williams has made substantial contributions to urban public education at both the local and national levels,” Council Executive Director Michael Casserly said. “His passion for equity and excellence has had a profound effect on how all of us serve our urban students. There could be no one more deserving.”
As the recipient of the 2017 Green-Garner Award, Williams receives a $10,000 college scholarship to present to a student.
“Congratulations, Dr. Williams, on winning the 2017 Green-Garner Award,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said. “We can’t thank you enough for everything that you’ve done for our young people. From the day you stepped on as a board member you’ve been a huge advocate for equity and access for all of our kids, and because of your efforts to lead our initiatives, our district is recognized as one of the best in the nation.”