Alumni Changemakers: Dr. Kenita Williams

Alumni Changemakers: Dr. Kenita Williams

To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Alumna Dr. Kenita Williams completed the Junior Summer Institute at the University of Michigan in 2001.

Expanding the Accessibility of Quality Education

Dr. Kenita Williams embodies the values of integrity, commitment, and leadership. She began her journey at Yale University where she received a B.A. in Political Science and History. Dr. Williams went on to get her teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University, her MPP from the University of Michigan, and her Ed.D in Entrepreneurial Leadership Education from Johns Hopkins University.

While working towards her MPP, Dr. Williams spent time as a teacher at Teach for America where she gained invaluable insight into educational inequities. Once receiving her MPP, she began working as a Public Policy Fellow for the Council of Michigan Foundations where she helped to strengthen philanthropic efforts through the state.

In her next role as a Planning, Research, and Evaluation Consultant for the JFM Consulting Group, Dr. Williams continued to work to improve people’s lives with her ever-expanding skillset. At the Southeastern Council of Federations, she worked as both a Program Manager and Senior Program Manager. Working for one of the nation’s largest resources for funding, the impact of her work increased as did her experience in serving greater populations of people.

Remaining true to her commitment to education, she took on the role of Partnerships Manager for Atlanta Public Schools. Working with a school system that serves over 50,000 children in 87 different schools provided a rich tapestry of motivation and experience.

This led her to the Southern Education Foundation, a 154-year old nonprofit organization working to advance education equity throughout the South. Here she held numerous leadership positions from the Director of Racial Equity Leadership Network to the Director of Leadership Development, to the Chief of Staff to her current role as their Chief Operating Officer. In this role, she is not only strengthening current programs but strategically leading new ones.

As a representative of the Southern Education Foundation, she not only takes responsibility for upholding their values to both stakeholders and the public, but for introducing these values to future change-makers in the field of educational leadership through fellowship programs which she creates and maintains.

Not only is her leadership evident throughout her career path but she also carries it forward as a Board Member for Georgia Forward which engages leaders throughout the state to work on behalf of a common vision.

Dr. Williams is a true advocate for potential. She actively creates change through policy, funding, and leadership development. Her experience in the field of education merges powerfully with her understanding of policy to make sure that all children have the ability to succeed in their lives.


Thank you, Dr. Williams, for all that you are doing for the future leaders of our society. You are empowering many generations with your life’s work. Because of your efforts, children are being educated, potential is being ignited and the world is becoming brighter.

Read more Changemaker profiles here!