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Community Engagement Consultant and Leadership Coach


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Biography One of the most powerful leadership lessons Nicole learned during her training as a school leader came from Harvard professor, Ronald Heifetz, who states “there is no such thing as a broken system… each system is perfectly aligned to produce the results it currently gets.” When viewing her own educational journey and those of the people she loved, she realized that the high poverty rates and low graduation, employment, and homeownership rates she saw within her community were not the results of some happenstance, but the byproduct of centuries of inequitable systems and policies that shaped the lives of the people within her community for generations.  So she decided to disrupt the system – by becoming an educator. Nicole Williams is a former special education teacher, elementary grade school leader, leadership coach, and adult learning instructional designer with over 15 years of experience.  She began her work as a Special Education teacher in Jefferson Parish Public Schools in Marrero, Louisiana, and was led to school leadership where she served as the lower school leader at Medard Nelson Charter School in New Orleans. Looking to expand her reach and impact, in 2011 Nicole joined New Leaders, the same organization where she received her leadership development training, as the Aspiring Principals Program Director where she coached and supported aspiring and practicing school leaders. By 2013, Nicole had joined the national team where she served as the Senior Director of the national Aspiring Principals (AP) Program. There she designed professional development training and support structures for 13 Aspiring Principal Program Directors across the national New Leaders community.  In 2014, she became the Instructional Designer for the national Aspiring Principals Program where she developed the adult learning content for the AP Program which has successfully trained 14, 000 leaders across the country. In 2018, Nicole founded theLuminescentLeader, a boutique consulting business focused on supporting effective and equitable instruction in schools through leadership development and coaching.  She has nurtured the development of leadership for educators at every level through her work as a leadership coach, standards-aligned instructional designer, adult learning designer, coach, and consultant. She continues to work as a facilitator and consultant for UnboundEd and XQ Institute – two dynamic organizations dedicated to creating equitable outcomes for ALL students. Across these spaces, Nicole’s work focused on leadership development through the lens of what she has termed “luminescent leadership.”   She has been invited to work with multiple teacher and leader development organizations around the country where she works to support teachers, principals, and system-level leaders in traditional and charter systems to inspire vision and action around educational equity for all students. Nicole holds a B.A. in History with a minor in African-American Studies from Loyola University of New Orleans and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas – Arlington.  She received her school leader certification through New Leaders (Cohort 8) and also holds the State of Louisiana Level 2 Certification in Educational Leadership and Special