A big welcome to Donald T. “Willy” Williams! Beginning this month (mid-September), Mr. Williams will take the helm of a newly-created position as Destin High School’s (DHS) Executive Director, DHS’s Governing Board recently announced. “Based on Mr. Williams’ experience as a community superintendent, principal, teacher, school leader and parent, the Governing Board of Directors is confident that he is the right person to lead Destin High School into the future,” said Heidi LoCicero, Executive Founding Board Member and Board President.
Mr. Williams’ career in education began in the U.S. and, most recently internationally, to lead schools along the shores of Japan, Germany, Italy and South Korea for the United States of America’s Department of Defense Education Activity. With mounds of experience, his specialties include strengthening communication, financial oversight, college preparatory studies, expanding career academies, school governance, improving faculty morale, mentoring new team members, athletic program management, and building a sense of belonging and common purpose that positively influences enrollment and fundraising. With an unending quest for learning, Mr. Williams is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. With additional talents, he is also an experienced private pilot as well as a musician.
There is good reason why Mr. Williams was chosen: the Destin Community Executive Director Search Committee and Governing Board felt Mr. Williams took the time to understand the school’s and board’s core values. “He demonstrated a commitment to help us maintain those values while moving the school forward in key areas,” said LoCicero. A co-worker who was contacted for a reference described Mr. Williams as “a wonderful leader who is very collaborative, has a great way of sharing observations that invite more conversation, solicits feedback, and he is very approachable and authentic.”
“The search committee, faculty and members of the media who met Mr. Williams during his campus visit found him to have vast experience in many of the areas we are looking to strengthen at DHS,” LoCicero said. “Parents described him as articulate, approachable, humble, calm and engaged. They noted that his past leadership experience and collaborative approach would be an asset for Destin High. Faculty described him as someone who puts the students first and knows what needs to happen to strengthen the DHS community.”
“Personally, I was impressed that Mr. Williams asked questions rather than simply talking,” LoCicero continued. “The questions he asked indicated a genuine interest in the school, both its strengths and its challenges. I felt he understood the scope of the Executive Director job, and how important Destin High is to the community. He took time to understand our school’s needs, along with our core values.”
In the words of Principal Cruickshank, “I appreciated his focus on the teachers, along with the ethos and soul of a school and how it relates to the students’ experience.”
“For all these reasons and more, the Governing Board and I, are delighted that Mr. Williams has chosen to join us as Executive Director,” said LoCicero.
Community volunteers who helped lead the search by serving on the Executive Search Committee are Dr. Vivian Green, Al Gardner, Bernard Johnson, Susanne Griffin, Chatham Morgan, Daniel Frankfurt, Connie Lee, Julie Campbell, Dr. Prebble Ramswell and Leslie Stricklin.