“The sense of family and community in the cohorts and with the faculty, and the push to be greater, to make a difference — I’d recommend the programs to anyone.”
Kwame I.T. Williams is a change agent. As a principal responsible for the cognitive development and social growth of 455 K-5 students, it’s part of her job. An educator for 22 years, she enrolled in SJU’s Interdisciplinary Doctor of Education Program for Educational Leaders (IDEPEL) in 2011 after earning a master’s degree in educational leadership the previous year. She focused her research on democratic leadership and its effects on teacher job satisfaction because she was interested in finding out how principal-teacher relationships could be transformed.
As much as the development and growth of others have been the chief concerns of her career, Kwame met the biggest change agent of her personal life in February 2014 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She says it was the sense of family and the ongoing support from her cohort members and professors that helped to get her through what became an almost two-year ordeal, when after a double mastectomy, a total hysterectomy and breast reconstruction in 2014, she was diagnosed in July 2015 with brain cancer that had metastasized from the original cancer in her breast. She underwent surgery to remove the mass in her brain and returned to work last September, only to have the tumor recur with additional growth in October.
Through it all Kwame says, “I just kept doing the research and writing my dissertation. I felt the need to finish.”
The next part of her journey commences on May 14. Read more about Kwame’s story here.