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New leader for DPI's Division for Libraries and Technology

Monday, January 30, 2023

State Superintendent Jill Underly has announced the appointment of Dr. Darrell L. Williams as the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division for Libraries and Technology. Dr. Williams succeeds Dr. Barbara Van Haren, former Assistant State Superintendent for the Division for Learning

Support, who selflessly stepped out of retirement to return to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) as the interim division leader.  

Photo of Dr. Williams attending newly remodeled Gaenslen Elementary School library ribbon cutting
(L-R: Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson,
Gaenslen Elementary School Library Media Specialist
Susan Plewa, DPI's Monica Treptow, MPS Superintendent
Keith Posley, and DPI's Dr. Williams)

Prior to his appointment, which started on January 17, 2023, Governor Tony Evers chose Dr. Williams as the Administrator of the Division of Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM). Dr. Williams led the COVID-19 response throughout Wisconsin for WEM – the lead state agency charged with coordinating the state’s efforts for all natural and man-caused disasters. 

Prior to joining WEM, Dr. Williams served more than 25 years in the field of education as a teacher and administrator including Interim Superintendent of Schools in Beloit where he worked collaboratively to implement the district-wide Early Childhood Literacy Initiative and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Initiative to improve literacy skills and increase student achievement in Rock County. He has been recognized as the 2017 UAW Local 95 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Service Award honoree and the 2013 National Principal of the Year honoree from the National Alliance of Black School Educators. 

As a strong advocate for libraries and technology in education, Dr. Williams said, “Our libraries are one of the most important places in our schools and communities. It is the only place where our children can go everywhere without have to go anywhere. We must use all of our technology and other precious resources to bring learning to the homes and fingertips of every child to reduce equity gaps in access and success for ALL Wisconsin students.”  

Dr. Williams (Major-Retired) served for 29 years in the United States Army, which included combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan where he was awarded several decorations for his military service including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. 

Dr. Williams earned his Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi; Master of Arts .in Administrative Leadership and Supervision from Marian College in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin; and his Ph.D. in Urban Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

For questions about this information, contact Beth Tomev (608) 266-7410

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