Author: Jerry Higgins, Communications Officer
The National Alliance of Black School Educators has selected Juvenile Justice Student Transition Counselor Dr. Michael Tyrone Williams as the 2021 W.E.B. DuBois Higher Education Award recipient. Dr. Williams will receive the award at the NABSE annual conference Nov. 13 in Los Angeles.
"I am both honored and humbled to have been selected to receive this award,” said Dr. Williams. “It has been one of several factors which remind me that the only limits we have are the limits we place on ourselves."
According to the organization, Dr. Williams was selected because he demonstrates “excellence and the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity and civic and social responsibility. This award is bestowed upon individuals who have undergone great personal and professional sacrifice in the service of educational advancement for African Americans.”
Dr. Williams has worked for the Juvenile Justice section since June 1, 2020, as a counselor. He works with a team of student transition coordinators to match students with post-secondary training options that include college, vocational training programs, the military, or other training opportunities.
“I analyze student transcripts to ensure that students have met graduation requirements and match classes from their sending school district to the courses we offer through our youth schools,” said Dr. Williams.
He also facilitates the awarding of the YDC Scholarship, which is given to students who complete their education while in a Juvenile Justice facility. The scholarship will provide as much as $2,500 to assist students in continuing or completing an academic, trade or certificate program at a community college.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Williams on our Educational Services team,” said Adam Johnson, the director of Juvenile Education Services. “His expertise is essential in strengthening the services and supports we provide to our students. NABSE has definitely chosen a dedicated educator who possesses a strong skillset that matches his passion for improving the outcomes of our students.”
Dr. Williams started at the Department of Public Safety on July 11, 2016, as the Title One Transition Counselor for the state prison system. He linked students with resources necessary to reduce the risk factors for recidivism. He also concurrently served as interim school principal and school counselor at Polk Correctional Center during transition between administrators.
“I led the (Prisons) program through a clean federal monitoring visit, expedited several events to include transition fairs, community partners presentations, life skills sessions, administered career keys and multiple intelligences assessments, and collected and disseminated data for federal and state reports,” he said.
Dr. Williams has more than 28 years of service advising and engaging youth about post-secondary educational opportunities. Prior to coming to DPS, Dr. Williams served as an assistant principal for Carter Community Charter School in Durham and as a special education teacher for Durham Public Schools.
The bulk of his professional career was spent in Virginia as a school counselor with Amelia County, Norfolk, and Newport News public school districts. His career also included service as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, probation officer, in-home counselor, and entrepreneur.
He is a nationally acclaimed speaker, educational consultant, and workshop facilitator. He will be presenting “We Are Family: Acknowledging, Embracing and Educating All Learners” at the NABSE conference on Nov. 11. He is the author of the book I Count Too: Affirming Students Who Look, Love, Learn, and Live Differently.
Dr. Williams has facilitated workshops before national, regional and local organizations, including the Correctional Education Association, National Conference on Higher Education in Prisons, North Carolina Department of Commerce, National School Board Association Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE), and Virginia Rehabilitation Association.
He holds memberships in many professional associations including the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, National Alliance of Black School Educators, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. He is also a life member of the Virginia State University Alumni Association.