The Board of Trustees for the Plano Independent School District (ISD) in Texas has selected Dr. Theresa Williams, a member of the Chiefs for Change Future Chiefs leadership development program, as the lone finalist for superintendent. Located near Dallas, Plano ISD has approximately 50,000 students and nearly 7,000 employees. Dr. Williams currently serves as the district’s deputy superintendent and chief operating officer (COO), overseeing day-to-day operations and providing leadership and guidance to the administrative cabinet.
During her four-year tenure as COO, Dr. Williams has operationalized Plano ISD’s strategic plan. She worked to promote budgetary and staffing efficiencies and to establish a strong district leadership team. In addition, Dr. Williams played a critical role in the school system’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Texas native, Dr. Williams has spent nearly 30 years working in education. Much of her career has been dedicated to creating and advancing future-ready pathways for students. She has extensive, proven experience across all school system functions. Before joining Plano ISD, Williams held leadership roles in other Texas school districts, including deputy superintendent in Lubbock ISD and executive director of educational operations in Garland ISD, where she began her career and also served as a campus administrator and led special programs and student services.
Dr. Williams is part of the sixth cohort of the Future Chiefs program, which identifies talented, diverse emerging leaders and integrates them into a community of practice. Future Chiefs receive coaching and mentorship from members of Chiefs for Change and participate in a variety of other learning opportunities. Twenty-four, or 47 percent, of participants in the Future Chiefs program have become chiefs: 79 percent are leaders of color and 46 percent are women. Currently, 15 alumni or members of the Future Chiefs program lead school districts or state education departments. They oversee systems that collectively impact 2.8 million students, 192,000 teachers, and more than 4,000 schools. In addition, these chiefs oversee more than $32.7 billion in annual budgets.