DELMAR — Bethlehem Central’s Board of Education took another step towards promoting diversity throughout its schools as it appointed Latisha J. Ellis-Williams as its first diversity, equity and inclusion officer.
Ellis-Williams fills a newly created position that involved a nationwide search. Superintendent Jody Monroe said her appointment was the next step in the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion work that had been ongoing since the 2016-17 school year.
“We are excited to welcome Dr. Ellis-Williams to BC,” Monroe said. “As an experienced, influential leader Dr. Ellis-Williams will work collaboratively to strengthen the district’s ongoing efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for all faculty, staff, students, and families.”
The native New Yorker comes to the Capital District after serving as the assistant principal of Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. She has more than 25 years of experience in education in urban, suburban and rural school systems, holding previous responsibilities as a teacher, content leader, dean of culture and instruction, and a principal.
According to a statement from the district, Ellis-Williams has extensive expertise in student development, learning and implementing theory, teaching strategies for helping all students, designing culturally responsive professional development pedagogy and building programs focused on meeting diverse student needs. Once she officially joins Bethlehem Central on July 1, she is expected to help the district create a consistent and clear strategy that can be implemented and assessed districtwide.
“I just want to thank the Board of Education, Miss Monroe, the committee and the panels who interviewed me for this wonderful opportunity to join the Bethlehem Central School District,” said Ellis-Williams. Her excitement was shared by some of those in attendance. She had family from Long Island travel up to attend the board’s announcement of her appointment. “I’m really excited about this work and I’m eager to roll my sleeves up.”
In addition, Ellis-Williams will serve as the district’s Title IX officer, providing regulatory compliance with federal and state laws relating to sexual harassment and violence prevention and will keep staff informed of changes to laws and regulations in these areas.
Ellis-Williams holds a doctorate in educational administration from Dowling College, a certificate of advanced studies in school district administration from Long Island University, a Master of Science in education from Long Island University, and a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and teaching from the State University of New York at Oswego. She also holds certifications as a Title IX coordinator and administrator from Tulane University Law School and earned a certificate in Business Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida Muma College of Business.
Monroe said she expects her newest employee will help the district meet its mission to help all students reach their potential.
“Dr. Ellis-Williams has a lifetime of experience doing just that,” she said. “Every single child who comes through our doors has a unique background and differing abilities. We want each one to know they are affirmed and valued on their path to success. We will not stop short of that goal.”
On the evening of June 1, 15 Bethlehem Central educators were officially awarded tenure by the Board of Education.
Their hard work and dedication are part of what makes Bethlehem Central all that it is.
Elizabeth D. Colloton, School Counselor, High School; Michael F. Doemel, Physical Education Teacher, Slingerlands Elementary School; Jessica A. Gallo, Speech Therapist, Eagle & Slingerlands Elementary Schools
Marisa Hock, English Teacher, Middle School; Lisa A. Hoerz, Social Worker, Middle School; Christen R. Jordon, Elementary Education Teacher, Eagle Elementary School
Alexandria L. Kosek, Music Teacher, Elsmere Elementary School / Middle School; Brianna S. Kugler, Family and Consumer Science Teacher, Middle School; Cyrilla R. Peluso, Social Worker, Eagle Elementary
Joanna Perrino, Elementary Education Teacher, Glenmont Elementary School; Brian J. Spina, Mathematics Teacher, High School; Matthew S. Urban, Elementary Education Teacher, Eagle Elementary
Jessica S. Van Wormer, Social Worker, Middle School; David M. Wargula, Elementary Education Teacher, Glenmont Elementary School; and Nicoleen K. Winklarek, Elementary Education Teacher, Middle School.