Mia Williams (EdD ‘18), a graduate of University of Washington’s Danforth Educational Leadership Program and Leadership for Learning (EdD) program, is the 2019 Mary Hatwood Futrell Award recipient awarded by the National Education Association (NEA). Williams currently serves as principal of Seattle’s Aki Kurose Middle School and was selected for her contributions to the human and civil rights goals and aspirations of Americans across the nation.
The Mary Hatwood Futrell Award is presented to an individual whose activities in women’s rights have made a significant impact on education and the achievements of equal opportunity for women and girls. Last year's recipient was former first lady Michelle Obama.
“Mia is very equity driven and focused,” said Ann O’Doherty, director for the Danforth program. “She is committed to removing the barriers that students of color experience in P-12 schools, as well as graduate students that are attending courses at the University of Washington.
“She is always thinking of ways to ensure students are being well served in inclusive environments.”
Williams is a past recipient of the Washington State Middle-Level Principal of the Year award and previously served on a panel for the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative launched by former President Barack Obama to address opportunity gaps that affect boys of color.
Under Williams’ leadership, Aki Kurose has been recognized for fostering student growth and achievement and closing opportunity gaps for all of her students; and particularly young girls and girls of color.
Understanding the importance of decreasing the gender gap in leadership roles, she also has worked to develop young women leaders in the greater Seattle community. She sits on the advisory board for a local chapter of the International Order of the Rainbow Girls, a Masonic youth service organization which teaches leadership to young women through personal development and community service. Through this organization, Williams supports the goals of all young women working towards better life outcomes.
As a school principal, Williams invests in developing critical programs that support young women scholars gain access to equitable educational opportunities through mentorship, not only within their school, but in partnership with the community. Two of these mentorship programs include My Sister’s Keeper for young black women and Hermana Unidas for Latina young women. Dr. Williams actively recruits women mentors at Aki Kurose Middle School to ensure that all young women at the school have the necessary resources and support to achieve their educational and life goals.
Williams will be honored during the 2019 NEA convention on July 3 in Houston.
Story by Rosa Beyene.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications