Donald E. Williams Jr., the outgoing Democratic leader of the Connecticut Senate, has landed a job at the state’s largest teachers’ union.
Williams is leaving office Jan. 1 after 10 years as the Senate president pro tem.
Williams was named Monday as the Connecticut Education Association’s deputy director of professional policy, practice, research, and reform.
“It provides an important opportunity to utilize my policy and outreach skills, combined with my legislative and legal background, to ensure that the teaching profession in Connecticut thrives,” Williams said in a statement. “This is a challenging time for public education. Well-funded national ‘reform’ movements seek to privatize public schools and undermine teacher unions. There is much work to be done to expand educational opportunities for students, support the teaching profession, and help our schools.”
During his 22 years in the state Senate, Williams helped create the Office of the Child Advocate, a state watchdog agency that has subpoena power to investigate issues dealing with children.
During a contentious legislative session in 2012, Williams helped amend a controversial education reform bill proposed by the governor that targeted teacher tenure and collective bargaining rights. Williams helped win support from teachers’ unions for the final version of the bill.
Williams, who lives in Brooklyn, a small town in northeastern Connecticut, was a finalist earlier this year for the presidency of Quinebaug Valley Community College. Read his resume here.
His experience in education includes being chairman of the higher education subcommittee of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, a member of the New England Board of Higher Education from 2007 to 2011, and the executive director of Connecticut College’s downtown satellite campus from 1997 to 1999. His publications include a new book on the legacy of Prudence Crandall, who founded a school for African-American women in Canterbury in 1833.
He also served as chairman of the legislature’s Select Committee on Children.
Williams earned his law degree from the Washington and Lee University School of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University. He also is a former radio reporter.
William will start his new job at the teachers’ union in January.